Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Saudis Push for a Gulf Federation ; but Some States Remain Wary of Their Larger, Conservative Neighbor

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Saudis Push for a Gulf Federation ; but Some States Remain Wary of Their Larger, Conservative Neighbor

Article excerpt

Saudi Arabia is pushing for a federation with its five Gulf neighbors to build a bulwark against the waves of change sweeping the Middle East, but some smaller states have balked at the idea.

Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead with efforts to forge a single federation with its five Gulf neighbors as the conservative monarchy seeks to build a new bulwark against the waves of change sweeping the Middle East.

The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said after a meeting on Monday in Riyadh of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six- nation alliance, that it had distributed a draft plan for the union to members' foreign ministers to review so they could resolve any issues.

"I am hoping that the six countries will unite in the next meeting," the foreign minister said.

Several smaller Gulf states have publicly balked at the idea, fearing Saudi domination of the group. The fact that no agreement was announced on Monday, as some had expected, seemed to signal deep misgivings among several of Saudi Arabia's neighbors.

But Prince Saud's public push forward despite their opposition underscored the kingdom's continuing scramble -- with diplomacy, money and even arms -- to preserve or rebuild what it can of the old regional order following the Arab uprisings.

Saudi Arabia's rulers fear that the contagion of popular revolt could reach its borders and stir its own disenfranchised citizens and residents, including dissidents, members of minority groups and foreign workers, analysts said.

"They don't want the spirit of our uprising to reach their shores," said Sayed Hadi al-Mosawi, a Bahraini opposition politician.

The move also highlights the Saudi monarchy's preoccupation with its regional rival, Iran, which has been reflected in a series of Saudi interventions that have taken on distinctly sectarian overtones, including its support for Sunni opposition groups in Syria and its military intervention last spring on behalf of the Sunni monarchy in Bahrain. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.