March 11, 2014
Saab on Gulf Relations
Qatar’s foreign policy and its support for Islamist militant groups has long unnerved the Obama administration, but Washington’s primary concern with the split between its key Arabian Gulf allies is what it will mean for the GCC.
“It complicates his efforts to manage relations with the GCC now that the two [members] who are the most credible and powerful US allies are on strictly bad terms with a third ally,” said Bilal Saab, a senior fellow for Middle East security at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.
At a December conference in Manama, US defence secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans to sell weapons systems to the GCC as a block rather than to individual members.
“The US has been pushing them for some time to act more collectively and selling arms to them as one unit,” Mr Saab said.
“But with this crisis now it’s going to be hard to do that.”