Saturday May 23, 2015
News media coverage of the Camp David summit between President Barack Obama and Gulf Cooperation Council members has focused largely on Obama’s success in getting the GCC States to go along with the negotiation of a nuclear agreement with Iran.
But the much more consequential story of the summit is Obama’s decision not to confront Saudi Arabia and Qatar about their financing of an al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria that has made the most dramatic gains in the jihadist war against the Assad regime.
For months the conflict between the policies of the Obama administration and those of Saudi Arabia and Qatar toward the war in Syria has been sharpening.
The US policy has been to arm and train several thousand rebels to fight only against Islamic State forces, whereas the Saudis and Qataris have embarked on a new initiative with Turkey to beef up the capability of Jabhat al Nusra (the Nusra Front), the official al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and its jihadist allies by creating a new military coalition in Idlib province to capture territory from the Assad regime.