At the conclusion of the Camp David summit with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Thursday, the White House failed to fully assuage the fears of the Sunni Gulf states over Iran’s continued regional expansion and pursuit of nuclear capabilities. The Washington Post Editorial Board declared that the downgrade in attendance by four of the six Gulf state leaders is an “unmistakable signal of dissatisfaction with their U.S. ally.” The most notable absence was King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who only three days before the summit declined his invitation and sent two crown princes to stand in his place. The Wall Street Journal asserted that King Salman’s absence reveals that “the Arab states aren’t on board and could continue to act on their own to thwart Tehran.”
The White House initiated the summit to lobby for the support of the leading Sunni Gulf States for the emerging deal with Iran. The Gulf states oppose the U.S.’s current Iran policy – in particular the emerging deal over Iran’s nuclear program. As The New York Times reported, former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence Prince Turki al-Faisal declared, “He [President Obama] did go behind the backs of the traditional allies of the U.S. to strike the deal.” He also claimed that the U.S. “was making a ‘pivot to Iran.’” James F. Jeffrey, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, wrote that the GCC states have a “deep concern that a nuclear deal will ‘unleash’ Iran by granting tacit U.S. accommodation of its quest for regional hegemony."
Gulf states want robust security assurances, a formalized defense pact, and powerful weaponry to guarantee their security in the face of an increasingly emboldened Iran. The Joint Statement fell short of GCC states’ requests and also failed to fulfill the administration’s hope that they would embrace the parameters of the emerging deal with Iran.
Five Iranian naval vessels fired on a Singapore-flagged cargo ship sailing through the Straits of Hormuz CNN reported today, citing a U.S. official.
It is not yet clear if any of the rounds hit the Alpine Eternity. There were no U.S. citizens or cargo on board. The Pentagon is still gathering information about the incident.
The incident began when five small fast boats, believed to be manned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy approached the cargo vessel just off the coast of the United Arab Emirates but in international water, the official said. ….
The incident began with the Iranians ordering the ship into Iranian waters. When the ships master refused, the Iranians began to fire in a way to try to disable the ship, not just as warning shots, the U.S. official said.
While several shots were reported to have hit the ship, it was not disabled.
Agence France-Presse added that the Alpine Eternity called for help from the United Arab Emirates.
The Alpine Eternity issued a radio call for help to the UAE and the Iranian boats fired a second wave of warning shots, the officials said.
UAE authorities heard the radio call and deployed coast guard boats in response. The Iranian boats then departed the area, the officials said.
Following the seizure at sea of the Maersk Tigris in late April, the United States began providing escorts to ships passing through the Straits of Hormuz, but recently stopped the practice. The illegal seizure of the Tigris was one of a number of recent Iranian challenges to the American navy in the Persian Gulf. The Tigris was released after the Maersk shipping line agreed to settle a claim made against it by an Iranian company. (via TheTower.org)