Latest World News > Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are expected to announce closer political union at a meeting of Gulf Arab leaders on Monday, a Bahraini minister said, a move dismissed by the opposition as a ruse to avoid political reform.
The decision is part of a strategy to increase integration within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as the organisation’s six nation’s fret about Iran’s power in the region and the presence of al Qaeda after the Arab uprisings.
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might initially seek closer union, local media have said, as both share a concern about discontent among Shia against their ruling Sunni dynasties, and accuse Shia Iran of fomenting it – a charge Iran denies.
Saudi security forces entered Bahrain in March 2011 ahead of a crackdown on pro-democracy protests which had been led mainly by majority Shia against the Sunni Al Khalifa monarchy, a US ally.
“I expect there will be an announcement of two or three countries. We can’t be sure but I have a strong expectation,” Samira Rajab, Bahrain’s minister of state for information affairs, told Reuters on Sunday. Two of the countries mentioned were Saudi Arabia and Bahrain; Rajab did not name the third.
“Sovereignty will remain with each of the countries and they would remain as UN members but they would unite in decisions regarding foreign relations, security, military and the economy.”