Hillary Rodham Clinton reached Saudi Arabia on Friday to have talks with Persian Gulf States on issues of mutual interest. She inaugurated a new strategic partnership with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and reiterated to continue coordinated efforts to resolve the issues of Iran and Syria. The six countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. These all are oil rich states and the US depends heavily on import of oil from these states.
Analysts believe the visit of the secretary of state to the GCC is aimed to gain support of these countries against Iran. The United States believes that it is necessary to keep the gulf countries on its side to fulfill energy needs of the country. President Obama has approved fresh sanctions on export of Iranian oil and the move is likely to shoot up petroleum prices in the market. The countries of the GCC are the world’s largest oil producers and fulfill around 90 per cent of energy needs of the world.
During her negotiations with the GCC member states, Hillary Rodham Clinton would convince them to increase production of the oil to fulfill requirement of the international community and also to keep the petroleum prices stable. The second thing is that these countries are being asked to increase pressure on Iran; so that the country announces to abandon its controversial nuclear program. And if the Iran conundrum is not resolved through economic sanctions and diplomatic means, then these countries would be asked to support military action against Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities.
It is pertinent to mention here that the GCC was at the forefront of demanding military action in Libya against Col Muammer Qaddafi. The United States get a resolution passed from the United Nations Security Council against the regime and NATO forces started pounding military installations of the country. The regime was toppled and Qaddafi was killed by rebels. The role of NATO forces in toppling the regime was applauded initially but later some countries like Russia and China started criticizing the United States and NATO for killing civilians during the air raids.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar – the most influential members of the GCC – have been calling for arming Syrian rebels; so that they could confront with the security forces loyal to the regime. Both the countries believe that Iran is extending covert assistance to Bashar al-Assad in Syria to protect its own vested interests. The ragtag opposition of Syria – Syrian National Council – has also been calling for ‘meaningful assistance’ from the international community to help protect civilians from oppression of the dictator.
The United States is striving hard to resolve issues of Iran and Syria through diplomatic means and for the same purpose Hillary Clinton is visiting the Persian Gulf States. Let’s see if the US succeeds in its mission.