Upcoming Event

Details

Date:
April 6
Time:
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Venue

Online

U.S.-GCC relations have become more complicated. U.S. signals of reduced interest in the Middle East and the increase in American oil and gas production to the highest record ever just as the Russian invasion of Ukraine exploded on the scene have strained the relationship more than ever before. In actions unprecedented in the U.S.-GCC relationship, both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) snubbed President Joe Biden’s request for a telephone call. As of this writing, the response of both the Kingdom and the Emirates to Biden’s request to increase oil production in order to dampen oil price rises and allow Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian energy seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi appear reluctant to end their commitment to the OPEC+ agreement with Russia to limit oil exports despite rapidly increasing oil prices worldwide, an increase with serious political and economic ramifications in the United States. To state that these developments have provoked great speculation about the future of U.S.-GCC relations would be an understatement.

U.S.-GCC relations have had their frictions in the recent past. America has expressed concerns for more than a decade about growing economic and, in some cases, security and geopolitical, ties between all the GCC states and China. The decision of the Biden Administration to find a way to restore the JCPOA, Obama’s 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran from which President Trump had withdrawn the U.S. in 2019, went down badly with those GCC states which had hoped for continued U.S. confrontation with Tehran. They saw the JCPOA as a signal that Washington sought to improve relations with Iran, reversing decades of unquestioned U.S. support for the Gulf Arab states and unbending hostility towards Tehran. Combined with Obama’s announced “pivot to Asia” in 2009, U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, and American support for the “Arab Spring” anti-authoritarian uprising, one can understand the concerns of some Gulf monarchies that the U.S. no longer cared about their security. Also, long-term contradictions in GCC views of the U.S. have resurfaced. On one hand, Biden rewarded Qatar, naming it a Major Non-NATO Ally, for its long-time loyalty in supporting U.S. activities in the region –not least facilitating the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. On the other hand, the U.S. continues to publicly criticize the Saudi-led war in Yemen, although it continues to provide material support to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh to defend against Yemen’s Houthis attacks on both countries.

What do the GCC states expect from Washington? Are they allies or partners or “is it complicated”? How do the different GCC countries see their bilateral relationships with the U.S.? Is there a collective GCC view?  Most importantly, how does Washington view its interests in the region?

Featured speakers: Ambassador Patrick Theros, Ambassador Robert Gallucci, Dr. Kenneth Katzman, Anna Jacobs, and Professor David Des Roches.

Ambassador Patrick Theros (moderator)

Strategic Advisor, Gulf International Forum

@PNT_Theros

Ambassador Theros has held such positions as Political Advisor to the Commander in Chief, Central Command; Deputy Chief of Mission and Political officer in Amman; Charge D’affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Abu Dhabi; Economic Counselor in Damascus; and U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar. In a career spanning almost 36 years, he also has served in diplomatic positions in Beirut, Managua, Dharan and Abu Dhabi, as well as in the Department of State. During that period, he earned four Superior Honor Awards. After retirement Ambassador Theros served as President of the U.S. Qatar Business Council in 2000-2017.

Ambassador Robert Gallucci

Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Ambassador Robert Gallucci is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. He previously served as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large and Special Envoy for the U.S. Department of State, focused on the non-proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. He was the chief US negotiator during the North Korean nuclear crisis of 1994 and served as Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs and as Deputy Executive Chairman of the UN Special Commission following the first Gulf War. Upon leaving public service, Ambassador Gallucci served as Dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University for 13 years before he became president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Dr. Kenneth Katzman

Senior Middle East Analyst, the U.S. Library of Congress

As a specialist with the Congressional Research Service, Dr. Katzman serves as a senior Middle East analyst for the U.S. Congress, with special emphasis on Iran, the Gulf states, Afghanistan, and Iran-backed groups operating in the region and South Asia. He provides expert reports, briefings, and analyses to senior government officials and Members of Congress. Dr. Katzman has participated in several congressional delegations to the Middle East and testified before various Committees and Subcommittees on a dozen occasions. Prior to joining the CRS, he served as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in leadership dynamics in Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf states. Dr. Katzman’s work has been featured in various outside publications, including a book entitled “The Warriors of Islam: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard” (Westview Press, 1993). He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from New York University (1991). Dr. Katzman is speaking at this event in a personal capacity.

Anna Jacobs

Senior Political Officer, The Shaikh Group (TSG)

@AnnaLeaJacobs

Anna Jacobs is a Senior Political Officer with The Shaikh Group (TSG), focusing on the Track II Dialogue for Mutual Security in the Middle East. In this role she works primarily on Gulf regional security dialogues. She is based in Doha, Qatar, where she has been living for several years. She is also a Non-Resident Fellow with the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington where she writes on foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa with a focus on regional and great power competition, Gulf states, and North Africa. Prior to this role, she worked as the senior research assistant at the Brookings Doha Center. Her work has been published with The Brookings Institution, The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, Chatham House, Al Sharq Strategic Research, and elsewhere.

Professor David Des Roches

Associate Professor, Near East South Asia Center for Security Studies; Nonresident Senior Fellow, Gulf International Forum

@DBDesRoches

David Des Roches is currently Associate Professor of at the Near East South Asia Center for Security Studies. Prior to this, he was the Defense Department director responsible for policy concerning Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Prior to this assignment, he has served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Liaison to the Department of Homeland Security, as senior country director for Pakistan, as NATO operations director, and as deputy director for peacekeeping. His first job in government was as a special assistant for strategy and later as the international law enforcement analyst in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He graduated from the United States Military Academy and obtained advanced degrees in Arab Politics from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies, in War Studies from Kings College London, and Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. He has also attended the Federal Executive Institute, the German Staff College’s Higher Officer Seminar, the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School, and the US Army Command and General Staff College.

Details

Date:
April 6
Time:
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Venue

Online
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