by John Galt
May 13, 2012 11:30 ET
In a move which is designed to rebuff Iran militarily and the West economically, Bahrain is expected to announce a closer political union with Saudi Arabia during a summit of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to be held in Riyadh tomorrow. The approach is expected to be part of a broader GCC initiative to develop a European Union type of political and financial union which will draw on the feelings of the people wishing to re-establish a greater Arab based Islamic caliphate. This feeling was highlighted in an editorial from Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News:
Sunday, May 13, 2012
MANAMA: A united Gulf is the great dream of GCC people, said HRH the Premier yesterday. This will enable all to live in security, peace, prosperity and stability, he said ahead of tomorrow’s mini-summit.
His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa called for co-ordination between GCC countries to be stepped up, especially in the light of exceptional circumstances facing the region and the need to formulate a clear strategy to face the challenges.
They make the “union” option imperative, to meet aspirations of the GCC countries and peoples of the region, he said.
“What matters today to the GCC citizens is the announcement of the Gulf union, which represents a landmark event in the region,” HRH the Premier said in a statement to Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh.
“We are confident that GCC leaders are working in this direction, and have the resolve to achieve it as soon as possible.”
Separately, Minister of State for Information Affairs Samira Rajab said the idea of Gulf union could start with two or three members.
Foreign ministers will meet in Riyadh today to prepare for the summit, GCC secretary-general Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani said.
He also said the meetings reflect the leaders’ keenness to follow up on the needs of GCC nationals and fulfil their aspirations.
The idea has the strong support of the Saudi Arabian royals as highlighted by an article in the Saudi website, Arabian Business.com:
GCC states will discuss tomorrow a proposal for a closer political union comparable to that of the EU, AFP reported, citing Bahraini Information Minister Samira Rajab.
“This union could start with two or three” members, the news agency cited Rajab as saying. “In Bahrain, we support setting up a Gulf union to protect us from the threats facing the region on the political, economic, security and military fronts,” she told the news agency.
The GCC, formed in 1981, is made up of six member states and also includes Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Last month, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs urged Gulf states to further integrate and unify in a bid to protect each other from common security threats.
Should such a union begin to occur and the political differences ironed out, this union could provide both a stabilizing and powerful force to turn the tide against Iranian expansionism and radical Arab nationalism in the Arabian Peninsula. The wild card is that for every event of this type which succeeds there is usually an equally violent and radical reaction to such a program and the unpredictable nature of the Islamic religious leadership in Saudi Arabia and other GCC states could actually invite the threat of a wider conflict with Western nations economically and politically after such a union is finalized.