The Future of U.S.-GCC Relations: Partnership Amidst Crisis
At the Camp David Summit in May 2015, the United States and GCC countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain – committed to establish a stronger partnership. The fact that only two GCC heads of state attended the Camp David Summit – Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah of Kuwait and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar – demonstrates the precariousness of US–GCC cooperation in the fields of security, economic, energy and development when there is tension between several GCC countries. Since June 2017, Qatar has been blockaded by four Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt. Several months later, the UAE and Saudis formed a partnership separate from the GCC. In recent months media have reported that Saudi and UAE private investors have funded a waterway that will turn Qatar into an island. The Transatlantic Leadership Network looks to encourage dialogue amongst GCC member countries and support continued commercial and geopolitical partnerships between GCC countries and the United States.
East Mediterranean Gas: Transatlantic Cooperation
The Eastern Mediterranean is receiving international attention as a region primarily characterized by instability, turmoil, conflict, terrorism and humanitarian crises. The region is today defined by the civil war in Syria, the operations of the Islamic State, sectarian clashes, a seemingly endless wave of refugees, weak, failing states, authoritarian tendencies and a fundamental sense of uncertainty. However, simultaneously, substantial and significant cooperative efforts are underway that hold the potential to ameliorate regional instability and offer solutions to real, pressing problems. These efforts revolve primarily around regional energy findings and have received much less attention. (As an example, Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings and Israel’s Delek Drilling signed a 15 billion dollar, 10-year deal to export gas from Israel to Egypt). Countries contributing to regional stability through energy exploration and exploitation are Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, and Italy. Turkey is also a significant actor but more efforts must be made to reconcile geostrategic and geopolitical differences.
Two trilateral processes are underway among Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, and Greece. Significant infrastructure projects are being discussed that include the East Med pipeline (Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy) the EuroAsia Inter-connector (Israel, Cyprus, Greece) and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (Greece, Albania, Italy). The project will support ongoing dialogue between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean to encourage continued commercial and geopolitical cooperation and to strengthening transatlantic cooperation.