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During the four years of his first mandate, the presidency of Barack Obama passed through multiple critical crises that each time challenged, directly or indirectly, the confidence equation in the partnership between Washington and the Gulf kingdoms. Barack Obama’s call for Egyptian President Mubarak to step aside in the spring of 2011, the US military withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, and, moreover, the failure to halt the Iranian nuclear program all represented a troubling trend for the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In their logic, this trend meant major risks, if not existential threats, to the stability of their political systems. However, the degradation of public relations between Washington and Gulf capitals should not be overblown, as the terms of this partnership are much more complex. This relationship is not based on common values but on shared security and economic interests. As a result, for several decades now – especially since the end of the 1991 Gulf War – it has been one of the most important partnerships for Washington. An in-depth assessment of the ins and outs of this relationship, precisely in the realm of military cooperation, allows us to go beyond the mere idea of a major rift and to acknowledge that despite Obama’s public restraint, he has in fact been pursuing – and is likely to continue doing so in his second term – a close strategic cooperation with the Gulf kingdoms.
- Origins of the US Presence in the Persian Gulf
- Gradual Deterioration of Political Relations between Washington and the Gulf Kingdoms
- The Continuation of US Military Leadership in the Gulf