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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No decision on Saudi-Bahrain union

Arab states of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council have failed to make any concrete decision on forming a confederation that would initially merge Saudi Arabia with Bahrain.

Council members, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman met in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Monday and agreed to continue further discussions over the plan, put forward by Saudi Arabia, in December.

Reports say Riyadh is planning to give Manama internal political autonomy while it would stay in charge of the country’s military affairs.

Bahrain's opposition has already rejected the initiative.

Some believe that the plan is an attempt to shore up the Saudi-backed regime crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Bahrain.

On Monday, a statement by the Iranian Majlis (parliament) condemned the Saudi proposal for merger with Bahrain and denounced the plan as illogical, saying the “unwise” measure will further destabilize the region and multiply its problems.

The statement asserted that political force and pressure cannot silence the frustrated Bahraini people who have been holding anti-government demonstrations since mid-February 2011 and calling on the U.S.-backed Al Khalifa family to leave power.

On March 14, 2011, more than 1,000 Saudi troops entered Bahrain to assist the Manama government in suppressing the peaceful popular protests.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly seeking to merge with Bahrain in line with plans to unify the six Arab member states of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council.

In December 2011, Saudi King Abdullah called on the council member states to move “beyond the stage of cooperation and into the stage of unity in a single entity.”

However, some members of the council have expressed concern about Saudi Arabia’s possible dominance over the other five countries if the six Arab states become unified.

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