Skip to main content

Omani rejection of GCC union adds insult to injury for Saudi Arabia

The Omani stance may force the kingdom to pause in its regional policies.
Oman's Interior Minister Saud bin Ibrahim al-Busaidi attends the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Interior Ministers' Conference in Manama November 28, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer (BAHRAIN - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX15WB1

Saudi Arabia’s proposal to move the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) toward unity received a blow during the IISS Manama Dialogue Forum, held Dec. 7 ahead of the council meeting in Kuwait, where ministers plan to discuss the issue.

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.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.