The US decision to host a Middle East conference in Warsaw was a curious diplomatic occasion. A question came to mind, why is this gathering of mainly Western and Arab governments being held in the Polish capital? Poland, which co-hosted the conference, is not known for its involvement in the Middle East's myriad problems.
Some analysts believe that Poland is an active member of the Nato and its dark history at the hands of Russia gives good reasons to get closer to Washington. Indeed some Poles are eager to see a large fully-fledged US military base on their soil. But one is left with the nagging thought that this meeting was in Poland primarily for one reason - none of Washington's other close partners in Europe were eager to host it.
This gathering was arranged by the Americans to have an international meeting to increase the pressure on Tehran. But this idea was quickly revised since there was little enthusiasm among some of Washington's Western European allies. Indeed it became evident that putting the spotlight on Iran might simply highlight the divisions in the Western camp in the wake of the Trump administration's decision to pull out of the nuclear agreement - the JCPOA - with Tehran.
Therefore, the agenda was broadened to "Promoting a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East". Iran was not named on the agenda, but included broader issues like humanitarian and refugee challenges, missile proliferation and 21st Century threats like cyber and terrorism.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was also not on the agenda, because Palestinians were not attending since they are boycotting the Trump administration.
The US was likely represented by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo but Vice-President Mike Pence and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, (architect of the administration's yet to be revealed Middle East peace plan) would also probably attend. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was also expected to be there - at least for the opening session. Other major European players were likely to be represented at a lower level.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was most likely to be there along with representatives of several Arab governments, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Morocco, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, along with Egypt and Tunisia.
The summit was termed the first major diplomatic gathering where Israel and the moderate Arab States would discuss regional security since the Madrid talks during the early 1990s. Some aspects of the peace process will inevitably come up but Iran is still likely to be a major area of discussion.
There is a fundamental division amongest the participants here. The US, Israel and many of the moderate Arab States see Iran as a malevolent influence in the region, seeking to expand its role at every opportunity. They were skeptical about the 2015 nuclear deal that was intended to constrain Iran's nuclear activities.
Netanyahu is likely to argue that Iran should not be looked at through the prism of divisions between the US and Europe over the nuclear deal. Instead he will argue that it is European values that are at stake. Iran's behavior - its support for terrorism; its human rights abuses, the detention of foreign nationals - are all issues that should matter to European governments.
It is certainly true that foreign ministries in London, Paris and Germany are concerned about Iran's regional behavior and its developing missile programs. But there is uncertainty about quite what to do about them. For the Europeans, maintaining what they see as the nuclear deal's brakes on Iran's nuclear activities is the paramount concern. For Washington, Israel and the moderate Arabs this is insufficient.
But Europe is distracted by Brexit and a host of other issues. Persistent tensions with the Trump administration and the US president's erratic policy decisions - the move to pull US forces out of Syria and the threatened draw-down in Afghanistan for example - only make matters worse. The US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is perceived unreliability of Washington in many European eyes. This gathering may tell us just as much about the divisions in the Western camp which seem to be getting worse rather than better.