By Raghida Dergham There have been interesting developments this week in US-Russian relations with the Gulf states, Egypt, and Turkey – and also interesting developments in the political discourse of both Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The strategic dialogue between the United States and Egypt resumed earlier this week, for the first time since 2009, tackling the future of US-Egyptian relations. The relations had become tense following the Muslim Brotherhood rise to power in Cairo. The talks also tackled Egypt’s regional role in Libya, Yemen, and Syria.
The declaration by the GCC as spoken by Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah welcoming the deal with Iran is a notable development that helps Obama’s administration, which needs such stances on the eve of the deliberations over the deal in Congress.
This is also happening in conjunction with an agreement to resume strategic dialogue between the United States and the GCC, which started in Camp David two months earlier. The next session of the dialogue will take place in New York next month.
The US-Russian partnership represented by Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov brought a new initiative to the GCC for political and diplomatic efforts in the Arab region, launched in the wake of the nuclear deal with Tehran. The details of the American and Russian attitudes on regional issues did not yet amount to a radical shift, whether vis-à-vis Syria or vis-à-vis the Iranian role there. In truth, the tripartite meeting bringing together Kerry, Lavrov, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reflected Washington and Moscow’s desire to reassure Riyadh that the sprint towards Tehran does not mean a split with Riyadh or the reduction of the Arab regional weight in favor of Iran.
The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is also trying to reassure the Gulf through his “broad smile” diplomacy. Zarif wrote an article in Al-Safir, titled “Neighbors before the house”, in which he called for looking for ways to help all regional countries to uproot the causes of tension and the absence of trust. The Qatari foreign minister responded by calling for a serious and constructive dialogue with “our Iranian neighbors”, including discussing what he said was Iranian interference in the internal affairs of the Gulf countries and Tehran’s continued support for President Bashar al-Assad.
There is a flurry of diplomatic and political activities coinciding with a campaign to market the Iranian nuclear deal. There are also economic and intelligence activities involving the United States, Russia, and Europe in the direction of Iran and the GCC, part of which to market arms and part of it to secure a place in the reconstruction of the countries ravaged by this decade’s mysterious and odd wars.
Zarif’s statements were seen as “amusing” in the words of a one Gulf figure. “He is far from decision-making positions in Tehran and very far from the Iranian revolution and only speaks for himself as a pro-Western liberal.”
According to the Gulf interpretation of Zarif’s editorial, Zarif’s statements are inconsistent with …read more
Source: More Fitness