Arab states want additional US arms to back Iran nuclear deal
Arab countries in the Persian Gulf are reportedly seeking more weapons in order to support a potential nuclear agreement with Iran during an upcoming meeting with US President Barack Obama.
Citing US and Arab officials, the Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the leaders of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, will ask Obama to provide the countries with additional fighter jets, missile batteries and surveillance equipment.
They intend to make the request in a meeting with the US president at his Camp David retreat outside Washington later this month, according to the report.
The White House announced that Obama will meet the Arab leaders at the White House on May 13 and at Camp David, Maryland, on May 14.
According to the officials, the Arab leaders also plan to call for new defense agreements with Washington that would outline terms and scenarios under which the US would intervene in the event of a possible military conflict with Iran.
The United States has long turned down the Arab nation’s request for boosting their military arsenals because it wants Israel to maintain a military advantage in the Middle East.
Republicans, however, warned against any move by Obama to meet the Arab’s request.
“I’m very worried that President Obama will promise every military toy they’ve always wanted and a security agreement short of a treaty, with the understanding they have to be sympathetic to this deal,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“If I get a hint of that, a whiff of that, then I would do everything I could to block every bullet and every plane,” he warned.
Last month, Obama rejected the Arab’s concerns over Iran, saying what threatens their governments is the increasing dissatisfaction inside their own countries, not the growing influence of Iran in the region.
“The biggest threats that they [Arab counties] face may not be coming from Iran invading. It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries,” Obama said in an interview with the New York Times.
The US president referred to internal problems in the Arab countries, including “alienated populations” and “youth underemployment.”
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries — the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany — reached a framework agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program on April 2 in Switzerland.
The two sides are working to finalize a deal by the end of June.
Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE joined Israel in opposing US efforts to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear energy program.