Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Bilal Y. Saab writes for Defense One on why defense cooperation in the Gulf will remain elusive until greater trust and closer political relationships are built among the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council:
Defense cooperation in the Persian Gulf region will remain an illusion without greater trust and closer political relations among the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC. It is an argument as old as the GCC itself. But for some reason Washington seems to have forgotten that it will take much more than technology and hardware for its Gulf partners to come together into the effective regional security collective the U.S. prefers.
To be fair, there have been a couple of bright spots. On air defense and maritime security, the Gulf states, in coordination with the U.S., have made important strides. Along with international partners, GCC nations have worked collectively to combat piracy and ensure freedom of commerce. They also continue to develop a shared regional air defense system, one that provides a common, networked, and recognized air picture across most of the region via a dedicated, broadband fiber-optic network developed by the Gulf states.