Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gulf arms: Complex motives

Dr Dominic Moran, Spero News (US: Texas)

While Saudis-Iranian tensions are playing out in both the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, the main theater of potential confrontation remains Iraq and the waters of the Gulf itself. "There is a war by proxy going on in Iraq between Saudi-backed groups and Iranian-backed groups. That obviously colors the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran," said Chatham House's Dr Gareth Stansfield. Iran appears increasingly concerned at the progressive Gulf military build-up. Ahmadinejad offered an economic and security alliance with the states at Doha – an offer welcomed by Qatari officials, though the Saudis made no official response ... Nevertheless, Stansfield believes "A very real security liaison is going on regarding the wider security of the Gulf region and, not necessarily a relationship, but more a balance of power is emerging between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and recognition of each other's interests." ... Stanfield believes, "There has been much more of a realization of the level of interaction Iran has with the Gulf states." This "suggests that one of the ways they [Gulf states] may look at regional security is through some sort of regional security network - but they have to bring Iran into it rather than having something opposing it."

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