By Simon Kent.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has met with Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani and six of his counterparts from the GCC, to discuss the war against the so called Islamic State in Iraq.
The meeting comes ahead of a planned GCC summit this week, which Barack Obama will attend. But underlying the recent meeting were concerns that the GCC (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar) were not pulling their weight in the war.
In Iraq, one US frustration was the slowness to commit reconstruction funds, a pressing concern in Ramadi, the Sunni majority city which needs billions of dollars for reconstruction following more than a year of fighting against ISIS.
Carter was allegedly told that defense secretaries in the GCC wanted more assurance that the Iraqi government would be more inclusive of Sunnis in the political process before committing more aid. This is a worrying request since many Sunni sheikhs in Anbar and Salahaddin are already on the government side, while many Sunni politicians lack the appeal of tribal leaders and are widely seen by Sunnis as corrupt.
The US military is now apparently working on partnerships with GCC army Special Forces units, but it is unclear what the aim of such partnerships would be. GCC defense secretaries apparently expressed ongoing concerns about Iran.
(Source: ABC News)