King Salman has long been recognized as the one holding the reins of Gulf files within the Saudi government before allegiance was pledged for him as a king. He knows the countries, the ruling families, governments, people, history, issues, and common and bilateral relations.
Though the relations between members of the GCC are close – given the similarities between them, they require to be dealt with carefully. Most of the Gulf capitals within the council are aware of the changes in the area and the dangers of the change surrounding it.
They realize that issues could rise from international relations and its economies and budgets difficulties, as well as their domestic and foreign obligations especially amid the fall of the oil prices and over-production which threatens its income and political power.
King Salman’s visit to the four capitals and his participation in the Bahrain summit aims to enhance relations needed in the Gulf region, which is also responsible for the stability of the Middle East.
The importance of the Gulf countries is much more than its population size. Countries of the Gulf are the stabilizers in the region with the absence of traditional Arab force. They try to fill the emptiness that resulted from the revolutions and the chaos of the Arab Spring as it represents the remaining standing pillars of the region, especially that other countries are busy in the survival struggle.
We can view the royal tour within the framework of boosting the existing relations that are organized within the Cooperation Council. The council remained strong despite former disagreements and diverse visions towards several issues in the region. Everyone realizes the Council is important.
In the Gulf summit that was held in Bahrain, King Salman said: “The sad situation being suffered by some Arab countries, characterized by terrorism, domestic struggle and bloodshed, is an imperative result of the alliance of terrorism, sectarianism and flagrant interference, leading to their destabilization and breach of security.”
He was hinting that Iran is leading an army and sectarian militias formed of five countries in Syria and Iraq, and is running a war in Yemen. Union between terrorism and sectarianism is evident and the sole winner is Iran, and the loser is Syria, Iraq and Yemen which naturally threatens the whole region, including countries of Gulf.
As for Riyadh, it realizes that the solution to face this mountain of crisis and enemies is through the cooperation within the GCC.
If united, most of these countries will be able to form a strong front against Iran and its allies as well as the terrorist groups including ISIS and al-Qaeda, and it will be able to take a clear position from the international positions arising during the chaos.
They can settle the international positions to their favor if they were able to form a unified front concerning most of the region’s issues. There is no doubt that since his inauguration, King Salman has been trying to bring all the capitals closer based on his knowledge and long term relation with their leaders and institutions.
Now that the royal tour and the Gulf summit are over, the most important plan that Riyadh has to undertake is to convince the Gulf group that they should all work together to face Iran who wants to change the political geography and dominate the north, east and south of the Arabian Peninsula, which technically would threaten the existence of the council and the safety of its states.
Backed by the respect, experience and special relations he has, there is no doubt that King Salman will be able to rectify and develop the Gulf relations, ending all disagreements amid real threats that the area is going through, especially the Gulf.
So, is it possible for those in disagreement to freeze their issues, even if temporarily?