Washington D.C. - Saudi Arabia’s new increasingly assertive leadership role on world stage was in full display at the Malabo meeting.
Washington D.C. – Saudi Arabia’s new increasingly assertive leadership role on world stage was in full display at the Malabo meeting.
The Saudi decision to withdraw from the Arab-African summit in support of ally Morocco is yet another sign of the Riyadh’s bold foreign and military policy. The Saudi Arabia, along with most of Gulf Cooperation Council members, supported Rabat as a sign of gratitude. Kuwait that chose to stay behind and support the Algeria backed Saharawi Republic looked inane, alone and “small”.
If it was not for courageous countries like Morocco who liberated the sheikhdom in 1991, Kuwait will be just another Iraqi province today. It is ungracious of the leadership in Kuwait to stand for the territorial partition of an Arab League member when their whole nation was wiped out off the map by a crazed dictator. With evidence of the 2011 Iranian failed coup to dislodge the regime in Bahrain still visible, Kuwait seems ungracious, forgetful and careless.
The Morocco-Saudi alliance has been key in stopping attempts to destabilize Sunni regimes in the Gulf. In fact, Kuwait with a sizable Shia population is one of the benefactors of such security blanket. This close relationship between the North African kingdom and the Gulf nations was institutionalized in the form of a military and political alliance during the 2016 meeting in Riyadh. Despite Kuwait’s reprehensible position, the GCC’s stand in Malabo meeting was a sign of the success of this new cooperation.
Faced with an increasing hostile Algeria, Morocco has heavily leaned upon the Saudis for its diplomatic outreach in the Gulf region. Rabat has supported King Salman’s new aggressive and independent foreign policy in the Middle East. Furthermore, it has been a willing and enthusiastic participant in the Saudi led “Islamic Alliance” to fight terrorism. Ironically, Missing from this coalition of 34 mainly Muslim nations is Algeria who has decided to side with Iran.
Morocco has stood with GCC nations in their battles to contain Iran in the proxy wars in Yemen, Iraq and Syria. A more powerful Iran represents a danger to all Arabs of the Gulf including Kuwait. Thus, it is crucial for the smallest nations in the region to forge alliances that can translate into military assistance in case of a war.
Morocco has made a deliberate choice in endorsing Saudi King Salman’s aggressive doctrine that seeks to respond, diplomatically and military, to the rapidly shifting geopolitical challenges in the Middle East and the Muslim world. It seems that the Moroccan Monarch assessment has paid off for the Kingdom. In Malabo, Algeria stood alone isolated in the Arab league when Algiers needs economic and financial assistance, while Morocco prevailed with help from allies that held power on the world stage.
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