GCC leaders reject Obama’s Middle East policy
debkafile’s intelligence sources and its sources in the Gulf report exclusively that US President Barack Obama failed to convince the leaders of the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states, during their April 22 summit in Riyadh, to support his Middle East policy and cooperate with Washington.
Our sources also report that Saudi Arabia, with Turkey’s help, and the US carried out separate military operations several hours before the start of the summit that showed the extent of their differences.
The US on Thursday started to use its giant B-52 bombers against ISIS in an attempt to show Gulf leaders that it is determined to quash the terrorist organization’s threat to Gulf states. The bombers deployed at Qatar’s Al Udeid airbase attacked targets around Mosul in northern Iraq, but the targets were not identified.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which recently established a bloc along with Egypt and Jordan to oppose Obama’s Middle East policy, started to infiltrate a force of 3,500 rebels back into Syria.
The force has been trained and financed by the Saudis at special camps in Turkey and Jordan. Members of the force are now fighting alongside other rebels north of Aleppo, but they are being bombed heavily by the Russian and Syrian air forces.
Riyadh sent the rebels into Syria to demonstrate to Obama that the Saudi royal family opposes the policy of diplomatic and military cooperation between the US and Russia regarding Syria that enables President Bashar Assad to remain in power in Damascus.
Since the war in Syria began in 2011, Obama has promised countless times that Washington would train and arm Syrian rebel forces outside the country, and then deploy them in Syria in order to strengthen rebel forces.
However, it has not done so except for one instance in 2015. The US infiltrated a small force consisting of no more than several dozen fighters, but it was destroyed by the Nusra Front, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, shortly after it crossed the border. The terrorist group had apparently been tipped off about the arrival of the pro-American force.
All of Washington’s efforts to recruit and train Syrian fighters, which have cost close to $1 billion, have failed.
debkafile’s sources report exclusively that the leaders of the six GCC member states put their previous differences aside and presented Obama with four requests aimed at building a new joint policy regarding the region. According to our sources, these requests were:
1. Action by Washington to strengthen the Sunni majority in Iraq and facilitate representation of the Sunnis in the central government in Baghdad. The Gulf rulers told Obama that his policy of trying to win the support of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is mistaken.
They also pointed out reports by their intelligence services that al-Abadi is likely to be deposed and be replaced by a pro-Iranian prIme minister in the near future.
Obama rejected the request and said he refuses to change his Iraq policy.
2. Imposition of new US sanctions on Iran over its continuing ballistic missile tests.
On April 19, several hours before Obama’s departure for Riyadh, Iran carried out its latest act of defiance by attempting to launch a satellite into orbit using one of its “Simorgh” intercontinental ballistic missiles. The missile failed to leave the Earth’s atmosphere, fell to earth and crashed along with the satellite.
Obama turned down the Gulf leaders on new sanctions as well.
3. Provision of US-made F-35 fighter-bombers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE so they can take action against the Iranian missile threat. The US president declined the request.
4. Abandonment of Washington’s cooperation with Russia and the UN for political solution in Syria, and instead cooperate with Gulf states and Turkey to end the war and depose President Bashar Assad. Obama refused.
In other words, the summit in Riyadh, Obama’s final meeting with GCC leaders before he leaves the White House next January, ended without a single agreement.