Last month, US President Barack Obama met the GCC leaders in Riyadh to discuss about regional security issues and forming joint action against the Islamist State. The GCC, or the Gulf Cooperation Council, is a regional intergovernmental political and economical union that consist all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except Iraq. The GCC was set up with Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE and Saudi Arabia in Abu Dhabi on May 25, 1981.
The spokesperson of GCC stated that the agenda of the meet was looking at Iran’s meddling in the region’s politics. Saudi Arabia and other GCC partners are worried about Tehran’s growing interference in their soil. The growing closeness of Iran and the US is another reason that’s creating disquiet for the Saudi Kingdom.
The GCC nations are upset because Iran is trying to propagate its revolutionary ideas and such attempts, they fear, can lead to internal unrest. Iran’s strong army base and nuke knowledge are seen as big threats too. Also, its missile power and the navy at the south allegedly pose security risks to the GCC.
In July 2014, US and five other world powers (Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) had joined hands for Iran’s nuke deal. Earlier this year, America’s decision to include Iran in its policies to aid Syria has angered the GCC. Reportedly, this had led to a growing disparity between Riyadh and Washington.
Iran is aiding the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah and helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, besides backing Houthis, a Shia-led movement in northern Yemen. Bahrain is accusing Tehran of propping up armed groups.
All the GCC states have varying opinion on Iran; Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed in 2014 had supported the lifting of economic sanctions from Iran as the state eyed at better economic relations with Tehran. However, Saudi Arabia was totally against such a move.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s three islands are controlled by the Iranian security forces, and the relation with Iran has been on a downslide. When Oman let the secret US-Iran diplomacy meet to be held in its soil, in August 2015, the GCC members were visibly angered. While GCC tried to put pressure on Oman, it threatened to quit the council and the matter ended at that.
Of late, Saudi Arabia has been putting in a lot of effort to elicit enhanced cooperation for GCC, besides forming a common army. The Saudi kingdom wants to put a stop on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, who are trying to upset the GCC nations by bringing in regulation.
More than its military prowess, and technical know how on modern warfare, it’s the stand of Iran that concerns the GCC.