Agreement between U.S. and Gulf States for Countering Terrorism

An agreement has been enacted between the U.S. and the Gulf states regarding mutual cooperation in dealing with the curse of terrorism. A statement issued by the White House said that Washington and the Gulf Cooperation Council have agreed on joining efforts to fight terrorism, on improving the defense capabilities of the member states of the council, and addressing the basic defense requirements of the states. The timing of the assurance of mutual cooperation provided by the U.S. to the Gulf states is noteworthy as it is a week ahead of an important meeting to be held in Saudi Arabia, where the U.S. and the heads of the Gulf Council are scheduled to meet.

Terrorism is the biggest problem of the region. If Western countries are facing terrorism, the majority of Muslim countries, too, are victims of this curse. Osama bin Laden was an influential Saudi citizen billionaire who used al-Qaida to target attacks on the West, but at the same time, did not spare his own country either. This, too, is the bitter reality; many of those who provided financial assistance to bin Laden were linked to the Gulf states and to Saudi Arabia.

Along with al-Qaida, now the Islamic State also has become a threat to the world. For Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, the Islamic State group could pose heightened danger because of its efforts to establish an Islamic state; what the features of this state will be, no one knows. One thing on which the Muslim community is in accord is that neither al-Qaida nor the Islamic State group has any remote connection to the teachings of Islam, and both are distorting Islam.

Saudi Arabia had established a coalition of Muslim countries — comprising 34 countries – under its leadership for countering terrorism. Observers have commented that Saudi Arabia fashioned this coalition in the same way that the U.S. established its NATO alliance.

The agreement now in effect between the U.S. and the Gulf states for mutual cooperation in dealing with terrorism raises many questions. With a coalition of 34 countries for fighting terrorism in place, what was the need for this agreement? If the objective was to improve the capabilities of the concerned countries for fighting terrorism, then this objective could also have been accomplished through contacts and cooperation with the 34-country coalition. Why was a separate agreement with the Gulf Council needed for this purpose?

On the surface, it appears that the U.S. has taken this step to consolidate its interests in the region. The fear is that the U.S. may use the Gulf states, which do not have its people’s representation, for furthering its interests. The agreement could serve as a lever in blackmailing them and getting hold of their resources.

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