Camp David Summit has laid the groundwork for GCC states to cooperate with U.S. in restraining Iran's aggression after the nuclear deal
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President Obama has already taken the first step in this effort through the Camp David summit he hosted with our Gulf Arab allies last month. That was an important first step in providing them with the necessary strategic reassurance in the face of the uncertain consequences of the nuclear deal on Iran’s behavior in their neighborhood. In the joint communiqué, the President reiterated a U.S. “unequivocal” commitment to “deter and confront external aggression against our allies and partners in the Gulf.” The two sides also agreed on a new strategic partnership that would “fast-track” arms transfers, enhance cooperation on counterterrorism, maritime security, cybersecurity, and ballistic missile defense, and develop rapid response capabilities to regional threats. The communiqué and its annex provide all the understandings necessary for laying the foundations of an effective regional security architecture. However, those words will need to be translated into concrete actions at a time when the regional turmoil is generating competing priorities and interests. The GCC states are not united in their approach to the region’s problems and they will continue to fear an American-Iranian rapprochement at their expense no matter how reassuring the President’s words. Nevertheless, the combination of the nuclear deal, a potentially more potent Iranian adversary, and rising instability on their borders, should concentrate their minds and therefore could create the necessary conditions for an effective strategic partnership with the United States that was called forth at Camp David. If they are willing to get their acts together, we should certainly be willing to respond with a determined effort.