The United States is preparing for a potential conflict with Iran, and other ISIS-affiliated sectors, while working with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to cooperate on air and missile defense and other maritime security issues. This Monday, US Defense Department initiated two working groups to meet with the GCC to discuss these topics. With the region being a hotbed of turmoil due to increased Iranian military activity, there is a strong interest in finding solutions that will help protect citizens and promote peace. 

U.S.-led efforts have been successful thus far in creating a united front among the six GCC nations – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – which have all come together under one banner to address their shared threat from Iran and its proxies. Air defense assets from both sides are combined into a joint task force, and exercises are already being conducted regularly across the region. In addition to this collaborative effort, individual countries are also taking steps of their own such as purchasing advanced American-made weaponry like F-35 fighter jets or investing heavily in ballistic missile defense systems such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). 

“There is a shared assessment between the United States and the GCC of the threats that face us … there’s an alignment of the threat perception,” Dana Stroul, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, said. 

She pointed out that Iran is a significant source of danger with its distribution of unmanned aerial vehicles to non-state actors in the area. These present a risk to Gulf nations’ citizens and American personnel in Iraq and Syria engaged in the struggle against ISIS.