WASHINGTON — Wednesday’s US-Gulf leaders summit is not expected to yield any major announcements of foreign military sales, though it could spark increased military cooperation, US officials said Tuesday.
Officials at the US State Department said the talks would explore steps by the US and its partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to expedite and streamline transfers of critical weapons systems. The talks could lead to a US team of experts traveling to the GCC countries, but no major sales were foreshadowed.
Simon Henderson, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, speculated that if the talks yield any announcements of military sales, they would be for systems already in the pipeline.
The summit is not about deliverables, but rather America’s tangled relationships in the Middle East. President Barack Obama had invited six Arabian Gulf leaders to the presidential retreat, amid suspicions that Washington was no longer committed to their security and was doing too little to stop Iran’s destabilizing actions across the region.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud Salman withdrew days before the summit, leaving Saudi Arabia and the US scrambling to deny a rift over nuclear negotiations between the US and Iran.