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Carter Urges Gulf Partner Countries to Cooperate Against Islamic State Group

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Tuesday’s agreement was reached during a meeting between US Defence Secretary Ash Carter and his Gulf Arab counterparts in Riyadh.

Carter told the GCC defense leaders to include political and economical tactics on top of military efforts to ensure the defeat of the Islamic State group, Cronk wrote.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations are part of that coalition but Carter called on them to exert diplomatic support as well, by re-opening embassies in Baghdad.

Carter and the GCC defense ministers agreed to cooperate in building the GCC states’ joint missile defense systems, and in developing special forces, the bloc’s Secretary General Abdullatif Al Zayani said, but no new arms deals were announced. Ahead of Obama’s arrival, Saudi state television showed the king personally greeting senior officials from other Gulf nations arriving at the King Salman Air Base.

Carter said Monday during his visit to Baghdad that the additional troops, equipment and aid were to “enable” local forces in their fight to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the hub for Islamic State forces in the state.

Iraqi Kurds, mostly Sunnis who have an autonomous region in the country’s north, have received training to fight IS from a US-led coalition whose warplanes are bombing the militants in Iraq and Syria.

The official said it appears the Gulf nations will be willing to consider doing more.

Today President Obama arrives in Riyadh where he will meet with King Salman before participating in a summit with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. There was no information on what the two leaders discussed in the two-hour meeting.

Mustafa Alani, a security analyst at the Gulf Research Center, said the move was unusual and meant to send a clear message that they have little faith in him.

Carter, addressing reporters in Riyadh, said Sunni support for a multi-sectarian government in Iraq will insure that the Islamic State group “stays defeated”.

Iran denies accusations by Gulf states that it is smuggling weapons to Yemen, where GCC countries are involved in a military campaign against the Tehran-allied Houthi movement.

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