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Will Camp David spur regional cooperation?

The signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 can open the door to cooperation between Middle East countries.
U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a working session of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at Camp David in Maryland May 14, 2015. Flanking Obama are U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (L)  the Emir of Kuwait. Obama will seek to convince Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies on Thursday that the United States is committed to their security despite deep concern among Arab leaders about U.S. efforts to broker a nuclear deal with Iran.   REUTERS/Kevin Lama

President Barack Obama’s meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders at Camp David on May 14 looks by all accounts like a face-saving attempt by Washington. A well-publicized, high-wire meeting, verbal reassurances, perhaps promises of more political support and some advanced military hardware, that’s all. Nothing more can and should be expected; they simply cannot prevent the nuclear deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) from going through.

The invitation to Washington, in the statement right before the nuclear framework agreement with Iran was announced in Lausanne April 2, was apparently meant to reassure the Arab states in the Persian Gulf that the deal with Tehran did not mean their abandonment. The psychological-emotional aspect of the suggestion was more than obvious. Initial expressions of Arab dissatisfaction with the expected deal — and more importantly, its longer term implications of a possible Iran-US rapprochement — signaled knee-jerk reactions to the development, bound to have quite serious repercussions for everybody: the United States, Iran and its Arab neighbors on the southern shore of the strategic Persian Gulf and on a larger scale, the greater Middle East. That much is certain, even if the exact nature of future developments have yet to unfold and the emerging regional power calculus is inevitably different from what it has been since the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the onset of tension and animosity between Tehran and Washington.

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