"... Omani Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi surprised the audience when he bluntly declared that his country is against the union and will withdraw from the new body unless it sees the light. Oman had previously expressed its rejection of the Saudi proposal in 2011 but the minister’s recent statement came at Saudi Arabia’s worst moment, when both international and regional power shifts are increasingly eroding the Saudi position. Alawi’s statement shattered the illusion of cooperation and the chances of Gulf unity at a time when Saudi Arabia is desperate to regain its stature, at least among its Gulf neighbors.The direct language of the Omani minister is not something that Saudi Arabia is used to, especially coming from its close partners in the GCC. The statement added insult to injury after it transpired that Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman facilitated a secret dialogue between the United States and Iran that culminated in the recent Geneva agreement, which is resented by Saudi Arabia. For a long time, Oman resisted following the confrontational Saudi position with Iran or other Arab countries that Saudi Arabia deemed threatening, such as Syria. It is not known to have openly interfered in the internal affairs of other neighbors, supported dissident groups or exported ideology abroad. Oman remains a solid ally of Western powers that can be relied on at times of crisis. Its apparent neutrality is driven by its own internal history, culture and engagement with the outside world..."
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 10:48 AM