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Trump speaks at the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York City in September. Photo: Michael Brochstein / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

President Trump has accelerated his diplomatic efforts to broker peace among quarreling Arab monarchies, starting with an upcoming series of White House visits by leaders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Axios has learned.

The impact: Sources with knowledge of the negotiations tell us they hope these separate meetings — hugely consequential in their own right — will lead to a peace deal over Qatar in late spring at a summit in Washington or Camp David. That could help end the longstanding dispute over its alleged support for terrorism and ties to Iran.

Between the lines: The proposed Gulf Cooperation Council meeting would not be a peace summit — it's part of an annual series of meetings. But if there's enough progress towards a deal on Qatar, Trump would surely be tempted to brand it that way and claim the leading hand in defusing the tensions.

That's not the only issue on the agenda, though. The meetings will be packed with other disputes, like the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the conflict in Yemen, and Iran’s funding of terror throughout the region.

What we're hearing: To ease the way to a potential deal, the current White House plan — which is only tentative and could change — is for Trump to welcome key Arab leaders in sequenced visits to Washington:

  1. First, the Saudi Crown Prince is expected to visit in mid-March.
  2. Next, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince would visit around March 27.
  3. The Emir of Qatar is expected to visit around a week or 10 days after that.

Why it matters (from the White House's point of view): The White House is keen to unify these gulf countries to preserve the integrity of the Gulf Cooperation Council and to bring the focus back to opposing Iran's bad behavior in the region. Iran benefits from the GCC being divided, so the Trump team is keen to unify the group again.

The UAE and Saudis, however, say the way for Qatar to resume diplomatic ties is to agree to 13 specific demands, which include commitments to cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and cool relations with Iran.

Crucial context: These Arab leaders who are opposing Qatar don't consider it the top flashpoint in the region. They’re coming to discuss a range of issues — including the major regional problems in Iran, Yemen and Syria. “Qatar is a piece, but it’s a small piece,” said a source familiar with the negotiations.

In the view of some gulf leaders in the Saudi bloc, the Qatar dispute is a regional disagreement that has persisted for years. They argue the pressure on Qatar has yielded wins for the U.S., including the recent open skies agreement and a memorandum of understanding on combatting terrorism and its financing.

Go deeper

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to affirmative action at Harvard, UNC

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging the consideration of race in the college admissions processes.

Why it matters: The conservative high court's ruling could determine the future of affirmative action in higher education.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.