Leaders and officials from six Gulf nations met in the Saudi capital to discuss cooperation - from the economy to security - but it was regional disunity that dominated the summit. Saudi Arabia's King Salman did not mention the blockade of Qatar by his country and two other GCC member states. But it's that dispute, the war in Yemen, and the diplomatic crisis surrounding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that overshadowed the event. So, what does the future hold for the GCC?
The U.S. Arctic Council chairmanship, succeeding Canada's, has had to function in the context of this tension and uncertainty to construct policy that promotes the best interests of those in the Arctic region. Now in its 20th year, the Arctic Council has evolved to become the most prominent forum for Arctic cooperation on safety, environment and other areas of mutual concern (excluding defense) for the eight Arctic countries and six indigenous peoples organizations. Twelve entities also participate as observers on the council. Prior to the creation of the Arctic Coast Guard Forum, other notable achievements included two binding agreements on search and rescue (2011) and oil pollution preparedness and response (2013). Beyond any particular agreement or decision, the Arctic Council has also served more generally to promote cooperation, rather than competition, in the region.
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Oman's Deputy Prime Minister Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said as Saudi Arabia's King Salman stands beside them during the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 21, 2016. RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- President Barack Obama on Thursday pledged to remain vigilant against Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East as he tried to allay concerns of Persian Gulf allies wary of his nuclear deal with their regional rival. "None of our nations have an interest in conflict with Iran," Obama said as he met with top officials from six Arab nations at a Gulf summit in Saudi Arabia. Obama, finishing his brief trip to the kingdom, said he and the Gulf leaders had agreed about ways to move forward in campaign the Islamic State group, with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council agreeing to "increase their contributions to the fight." He said the nations had also agreed to help Iraq.