Foreign Policies of two Gulf States (Saudi Arabia and Qatar)
Foreign Policies of two Gulf States
(Saudi Arabia and Qatar)
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Saudi Arabia and Qatar belong to or is a member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf or CCASG which was created on May 25, 1981 together with other Gulf States such as Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates, and these nations are referred to as the Gulf Cooperative Countries or the GCC - Foreign Policies of two Gulf States (Saudi Arabia and Qatar) introduction. Among the objectives of the CCSAG includes, promoting technical and scientific progress in the mining, industry, agriculture, animal resources, and water, devising similar regulations in fields such as finance, economy, trade, tourism, customs, administration, and legislation, establishing scientific research centers, encouraging cooperation of the private sector, setting up joint ventures, establishing common currency which is called the Khaleeji by 2010, and lastly, strengthening ties between their peoples.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest country on the Arabian Peninsula which is bordered by Iraq on the north, Jordan on the northwest, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain on the east, Red Sea to its west, Oman and Yemen on the Southeast, and Persian Gulf to its northeast, and having an approximately 27.5 million population and a size of about 2.24 million m2 with a capital named Riyadh1. Saudi Arabia is a place with little rainfall and enormous desserts having
1. “Saudi Arabia,” Saudi Arabia – MSN Encarta, (2007), [database on-line]; available from http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761575422/Saudi_Arabia.html.
immense deposits of natural gas and oil lying beneath the nation’s surface. Saudi Arabia’s religion is Islam developed in the 7th century, and the Kingdom was established in 1932 by Abdul Aziz ibn Saud.
Since the late 1950’s, 3 consistent themes have lead Saudi’s foreign policy and these are Arab Nationalism, Regional Security and Islam2. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy is according to historical geographical, religious, security, economic and political facts and principles, shaped within major frameworks such as non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, good neighbor policy, strong relations with the Gulf States and other nations on Arabian peninsula, strengthen relations with the Islamic and Arab nations for the advantage of common interest of countries and promote issues, launch cooperation relations with allied countries, adopt non-alignment policy, and perform effective role in the regional and international organization3.
Ever since the institutions of Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud, the Gulf Circle is considered as the foremost circle of the Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy, and within the Gulf Circle, importance is given to historical connections, blood relations, unique geographical neighborhood that create Arab Gulf sates together, and as well as the likeness of ________________________________
2. “Foreign Policy,” Saudi Arabia – Foreign Policy, (n.d.), [database on-line]; available from http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/59.htm.
3. “Kingdom Foreign Policy,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, (n.d.), [database on-line]; available from http://www.mofa.gov.sa/Detail.asp?InSectionID=3989&InNewsItemID=34645
existed economical and political systems. The Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy is based on the principles such as, the responsibility on the stability and security of the region, the right to depend security and preserve their independence with respect to their own discretion, decline the obstruction in the internal affairs of the countries
Saudi Foreign policy objectives are to keep its position and security on the Arabian Peninsula, protect the general Islamic and Arab interest keep cooperative relations with other oil consuming and oil producing countries, and uphold solidarity among the Islamic governments, and although blamed of being tolerant to extremism, the foreign policy is generally doesn’t promote violence revolution or hostility. As the world’s principal exporter of petroleum, Saudi has a distinctive interest in the stable preservation and long term market for its huge oil resources by partnering itself to the western economies that could protect the value of their financial asset. Saudi historically considered both externally supported rebellion and aggression as impending threat to their nation’s national security, thus their main policy objective is to maintain politically stability in the whole area of the Middle East that enclose the Arabian Peninsula 4. Saudi’s main concern tended to concentrate on their 2 more powerful populous neighbors which are Iran across the Persian Gulf and Iraq to the north 5. Saudi is also a charter member of the Arab League and supports the standing that Israel must pull out from territory resided in June 1967, also, Saudi Arabia officially assisted a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Arab dispute but declined the “Camp David Accords” insisting that they would be
4. “Foreign Policy,” Saudi Arabia – Foreign Policy, (n.d.), [database on-line]; available from http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/59.htm.
unable to have a broad political solution that will guarantee Palestinian rights and sufficiently address the position of Jerusalem. Saudi Arabia played an essential role in the Persian Gulf War in improving relationship with other nations and advancing new allies, however there were also financial and diplomatic cost just like the deteriorations of the relations between other countries like Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Each country had remained quiet after the invasion of Iraq but asked for an end for violence after the setting up of coalition troops began. The Palestinian Liberation Organization’s backing for Iraq results to an end for good relations and financial aid with Saudi Arabia and other States in the Persian Gulf, but recently the Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Palestinian Authority has recuperated. In 1931, US acknowledge the government of Saudi’s King Ibn Saud, and in 1933 the King had given concession to the United States Company allowing them to survey for oil in the countries Eastern Province. US didn’t send ambassador to the country until 1943 when WWII developed, the US began to think the strategic importance of Saudi’s oil, and in 1943 US President Roosevelt.
After the 9/11 attack, Saudi Arabia convey a statement calling them inhuman and regrettable, and after that Saudi’s recognition to the Taliban discontinued and as of mid November 2001, the administration of Bush remain admiring Saudi’s aid on the war for terrorism, however reports have specify the frustration of US on Saudi’s inaction.
Much of Saudi’s aid has been given to poorer Islamic communities and Islamic communities in non Islamic nations, which contributed to the diffusion of uniform type of Islam discounting the traditions of the different ethnic group.
Qatar places increasing importance on GCC or the Gulf Cooperation Council and bring unity and intensify ties between Arab nations, propagates the knowledge to peaceful ways of resolving all misunderstanding among nations, support the UN’s effort to maintain peace and security, and maintain good relations to all nations and countries who are peace-loving 6. Qatar refutes and disallows all types of terrorism regardless of its objective, causes, and means, and differentiates between people’s struggle and terrorism and the self determination and rightful rights of freedom according to the international law’s provisions. Qatar also invites all international agreements with the aim of resolving problems and supporting the struggle given by international and regional organizations in achieving stability and peace in the regions of the world 7.
Even before 1990 Qatar had intimate relation with Saudi Arabia, its more powerful and larger neighbor, because of its religious affinity and geopolitical realities Qatar go along with Saudi’s lead in many global and regional issues 8. Qatar has also a good relation with Iran in spite of Qatar’s support to Iraq in the Iraq-Iran War. Qatar’s relation with Bahrain continue to swing, with conflict rising frequently over disputes in territory started
6. “Qatar Foreign Relations,” Embassy of Qatar – Foreign Relations, (n.d.), [database on-line]; available from http://countrystudies.us/persian-gulf-states/80.htm.
7. “Qatar Foreign Policy,” Embassy of Qatar – Foreign Policy, (2005), [database on-line]; available from http://www.qatarembassy.net/foreign_policy.asp.
8. “Qatar Foreign Relations,” Embassy of Qatar – Foreign Relations, (n.d.), [database on-line]; available from http://countrystudies.us/persian-gulf-states/80.htm.
decades back with most of the disputes involves adjacent islands which both countries claim. Tensions rose in 1991 when naval vessels of Qatar passed Bahrain’s waters and jet fighters of Bahrain flew into Qatari Airspace and this was referred to the International Court of Justice to know if it has jurisdiction in the disagreement.
Qatar’s relation with the US has been normally proper but took a abrupt turn in 1988 when US Stinger missiles were seen at Doha’s military parade and when the Qatar government decline to surrender the weapons to US, the US gave a policy of withholding economic and military inspection. The dispute was settled when the Qatar destroy or terminated the missiles in 1990. Sooner, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield greatly enhanced the image of Qatar to the US as being a security partner resulting in bilateral military changes, and in 1992, the US and Qatar signed a “bilateral defense cooperation agreement” providing the United States access to Qatari military bases and future “combined military exercises 9. Qatar declined for many years, following Saudi Arabia’s lead to have a diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union but this changed when Qatar announced the starting of relations with the Soviet Union at the ambassadorial rank, and in the termination of Soviet Union in 1991, Qatar institute relations with the “newly independent Russian Federation” 10. In September 1971 after it announced its independence Qatar became a member of the UN, and in 1973 a US embassy was established in
9. “Qatar Foreign Relations,” Embassy of Qatar – Foreign Relations, (n.d.), [database on-line]; available from http://countrystudies.us/persian-gulf-states/80.htm.
Doha but US-Qatar relations didn’t blossom until the 1991 Gulf War (Qatar Foreign Policy). Trade between the Qatar and US has increased since the 1990-1991 Gulf war with US exports to Qatar amounting to $354.11 million
in 1998 including transport equipment and machineries while US imports form Qatar mostly fertilizers and textiles but despite the existence of United States firms in the hydrocarbon industry of Qatar, the United states virtually don’t import oil from Qatar (Qatar Foreign Policy).
The US has been helpful of the Qatar’s progress toward “political liberalization”, and in March 1999, Representative Carolyn Maloney and Representative Sue Kelly lead a congressional delegation that watch the election of Qatar for a Central Municipal Council, and after the election a resolution was passed by the Congress congratulating Qatar and it’s people for their allegiance to the democratic ideals (Qatar Foreign Policy).
11. “Qatar Foreign Policy,” Embassy of Qatar – Foreign Policy, (2005), [database on-line]; available from http://www.qatarembassy.net/foreign_policy.asp.
“Kingdom Foreign Policy.” Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, (2006) Database on-line. Available from http://www.mofa.gov.sa/Detail.asp?InSectionID=3989&InNewsItemID=34645.
“Foreign Policy.” Saudi Arabia – Foreign Policy, (n.d.) Database on-line. Available from http://countrystudies.us/saudi-arabia/59.htm.
“Qatar Foreign Policy.” Embassy of Qatar – Foreign Policy, (2005) Database on-line. Available from http://www.qatarembassy.net/foreign_policy.asp.
“Qatar Foreign Relations.” Embassy of Qatar – Foreign Relations, (n.d.) Database on-line. Available from http://countrystudies.us/persian-gulf-states/80.htm.
“Saudi Arabia.” Saudi Arabia – MSN Encarta, (2007) Database on-line. Available from http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761575422/Saudi_Arabia.html.