The United States and the Security of the Arab Gulf States
Dr. Nader Ibrahim M. Bani Nasur
The Arab Gulf States are allied together in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) having strong and friendly relationships with the United States. They are critical to the American strategic interests and collectively represent the single most important theater in Washington-Tehran strategic competition. The proximity of the Arab Gulf states to Iran, the region's geostrategic value to the stability of the global economy, the shifting military balance, and the social, demographic, political upheavals in several key states make it a potential flashpoint for tensions between Washington and Tehran. The United States issued new strategic guidance in early 2011 that called for the United States to avoid any repetition of the kind of involved in open-ended wars that occurred in Afghanistan and Iraq. This guidance gave the Middle East and the Arab Gulf States that same strategic priority as Asia, and stressed the threat posed by Iran and its search for nuclear weapons, but called for the American to build up strategic partnerships rather than take a unilateral lead or dominate the commitment of military force. Since that time, Washington has face growing pressure on government and national security spending, had to cut its forces and modernization plans, and faced growing domestic political pressures as a result of war fatigue and focus on domestic issues. The United States administration also differed with many of its Gulf allies over its lack of support for Mubarak of Egypt and then the military takeover in Egypt and its uncertain role in dealing with the crisis in both Iraq and Syria. Finally, the United States also faces a serious crisis of confidence in dealing with each of its Gulf allies as well as its other allies in the Middle East.
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