Obama presses ‘reset’ button for war on terror

Photo Credit: Flickr/White House

Photo Credit: Flickr/White House

In his national security speech on 23 May, President Obama may have focused on the specific issues of the Guantanamo detention centre and drone strikes, but he also used the speech to set out a new approach to national security and counter-terrorism that his administration has been working towards for the past four years.

This speech could mark the point at which the US government begins to shift away from a counter-terrorism approach that has become excessive and unsustainable, towards one that enables resources to be redirected towards more salient national-security issues. Obama noted that the United States could not remain at war forever and needed an exit strategy; the threat from terrorism was now from ‘lethal, yet less capable, al-Qaeda affiliates, threats to diplomatic facilities and businesses abroad, homegrown extremists’.

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The US–GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum: a multilateral approach to counter-terrorism

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited Ridyah, Saudi Arabia for the inaugural meeting of the US–GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum in March 2012 (Photo: US State Dept)

US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited Ridyah, Saudi Arabia for the inaugural meeting of the US–GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum in March 2012 (Photo: US State Dept)

By Becca Wasser, Program Officer and Research Analyst, IISS–US and John Drennan, Research Assistant, IISS-US

Throughout 2012, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) approach to counter-terrorism and security focused on building operational ties to its strongest international partner, the United States.

The US–GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum (SCF) was launched in March of this year, bringing together the foreign ministers of the GCC states and top US officials. The aim is for both sides to strengthen and better coordinate their security efforts. While the GCC has a long relationship with the US, this high-level forum illustrates the continuing importance of the Gulf region to the US national security agenda.

 

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