What if you threw a summit and nobody came?
Barack Obama learned that the hard way–when four of the six Persian Gulf heads of state he invited to Camp David stood him up.
The point of Obama’s summit was to calm fears about his potential nuclear deal with Iran. The potential deal created some strange bedfellows worldwide: uniting often-contentious Middle Eastern nations, and creating a bipartisan push for changes in Congress, who all feel the deal, as-is, will have a disastrous effect on the Middle East.
But, with so many no-shows from heads of state–who instead sent low-level dignitaries to pay lip service–it’s unlikely that Obama’s summit will have the desired affect.
Most notably absent was Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who took office earlier this year. Embarrassingly, the White House had only barely announced his attendance when, two days later, Saudi Arabia announced he was skipping the summit.
Saudi Arabia has been one of the most vocal Obama critics of allies in the Middle East–not just because of Obama’s stance on Iran, a regional nemesis of Saudi Arabia, but also because of Obama’s flaccid response to ISIS and a revolution in Yemen, both of which are key security issues to the Saudis.
Also not in attendance was King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, who instead attended a horse show.
Obama has pushed his new nuclear deal in order to bring Iran back to the bargaining table–hoping that they’ll agree to roll back its nuclear ambitions in exchange for weakened sanctions, which have crippled the Iranian economy.
So far, with an angry and unified Middle East, and an angry and unified Congress, things aren’t looking great for Obama’s Iran deal.