Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, meeting with the defense ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member nations, urged the governments of those nations to put their recent differences aside and unite behind their mutual hostility toward Iran.
The GCC, composed of Persian Gulf Arab states and dominated by Saudi Arabia, has recently dealt with internal acrimony, mostly centering on Qatar’s perceived support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
In early March, Saudi Arabia threatened a full blockade of tiny GCC member Qatar unless they closed down the al-Jazeera television network over Saudi complaints that their coverage was sympathetic to the Egyptian government, ousted last summer in a military coup.
Though GCC policy is usually driven more or less unilaterally by the Saudis, the Qatari dispute had raised concerns that the alliance was falling apart. Hagel insisted that it could be preserved if everyone just focused on the putative “threat” of Iran.