Diplomacy

White House Considers Hosting Anti-Terror Summit to Unite Arab Allies, Assert US Leadership

The White House is considering convening a summit with traditional Arab allies who recently severed relations with Qatar over its support of terrorism and ties to Iran, Fox News reported Friday.

The White House is reportedly seeking to settle the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and five other Arab nations by hosting a gathering based on the 1978 Camp David peace talks that led to a historic treaty between Israel and Egypt.

“It’s a Camp David moment. We’ve seen nothing like this in 40 years, and now the president wants to follow through,” a senior administration official told Fox News. The official added that the discussed summit would call for a change in behavior, and “not just Qatar’s.”

“They need to disavow groups like the [Muslim] Brotherhood for the stability of the Middle East at large,” the official explained. “It’s not just about Qatari elements funding the Brotherhood but disavowing support for extremism in general.”

Speaking before a gathering of Arab leaders in Riyadh last month, President Donald Trump called for America’s Middle Eastern allies to confront the “crisis of Islamic extremism.”

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister listed a number of condition that Qatar has to meet in order to restore diplomatic ties with the kingdom and its allies, including cutting ties with Iran.

A Middle East expert who was briefed on the proposed summit said that it would aim to repair Washington’s alliances and reassert its leadership in the region.

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Eric Shawn of Fox News on Sunday that convening such a summit to unite moderate Arab states against Iran’s influence is a good idea. “If you really want to go for it, have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu there too,” he added.

Bolton explained that the event could help reassure Arab allies who were upset by President Barack Obama’s “tilt towards Iran, the central banker of international terrorism, a country pursuing nuclear weapons.”

[Photo: White House / Flickr ]