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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 107

Iranian nuclear Issue... Gulf approach

*Abdul Jaleel Al Marhoon

When discussing the Iranian nuclear issue it is beneficial to stop at the regional point of view of this issue, particularly the Gulf point of view. This view isn't by any means separate from the Gulf approach to their relations with Iran itself.

In its historical frame, it can be said that the Gulf-Iranian convergence that was in focus during the 70s of the 20th century, was a rapprochement saturated with doubts and mutual fears. The international options for Iran and the Gulf countries were similar on the level of outcomes, but different on the level of the other party's point of view particularly the US. According to the US strategic perception the nature of the geopolitical function of the regional parties was greatly distant, which created an evident rift in the Gulf –Iranian convergence and its surface.

Finally the 70s of the 20th century ended without any signs of a specific security option on the Gulf regional system. Meanwhile there was also no clear approach to this security on level of international system's leader, or in other words the level of American policy in the region. “Guam’s Doctrine", which is also known as "Nixon's Doctrine", couldn't have evolved to being able to set a clear strategic picture for the region's security.

Following the downfall of the "Shah" in 1979 and after 8 years of war between Iran and Iraq, came the second Gulf war only to shatter the fragile strategic balance of the Gulf region system. At first it seemed like the war was going to lead to a Gulf – Iranian convergence, which actually happened.

Despite that this convergence had come lacking the common-political grounds and far from any strategic compass due to the fact that the regional collapse of strategic balance had deepened the Gulf countries' fears of Tehran's military power, which is the most central dilemma on the Iranian-Gulf relations approach level.

The continuous US Iranian tensions, the Iranian-Emeriti long struggle and Bahrain's uprising in the 1990s all seemed elements of repulsion to the chances of real Iranian-Gulf strategic convergence.

In the more referential framing, the talk about the Arab – Iranian relations finds its backgrounds in the discussion around the Arab world's relation with its neighbor that is of different nationalistic origins, where a question appeared half a century ago asking: does this neighboring serve the Arabs as a collar or a strategic depth for their favor?

Half a century of Arab talks haven't answered this question, yet the term "collar" found its way to underlie the Arab national speech in the 50s and 60s of the 20 th century. The truth is that the two terms "collar" and "depth" originally express geostrategic concepts born originally in Germany and are in no way related to ideological issues nor ideological values nor nationalistic differences, which was the fact that the national speech then did not notice. Thus unease seemed to be the basic characteristic of this relation and the cold war seemed as a catalyst of this friction and the Arab Iranian relations seemed the most affected by this.

Yet there is a transformation in the Arab speech since the 70s of the previous century, while the political-reality concept started enforcing itself gradually on this speech. In addition to that new concepts related to regional systems or sub-international systems have started imposing themselves on Arab researchers and students. Books and researches that highlighted this development of concepts have been issued in the Arab world. In addition to complete units in Arab research institutions have been devoted to studying the Arab relations with neighboring countries.

The end of the cold war later came to break down some of the fences and psychological and political barriers between the Arabs and their neighbors. Today globalization has created a new gateway to converging Arab relations with their neighbors, where the communications revolution seemed to have forced itself wholly on the international system interactions, while the regional regimes appeared to have been greatly affected by this universal transformation. In this sense we could consider the Arab-Iranian relations and consequently the Gulf posture in particular and the Arab posture in general towards the Iranian issue.

It could be precisely said that the Arab posture towards the Iranian nuclear issue has been affected by three basic factors that are: Iran 's internal political environment, the general Arab-Iranian relations environment and the Iranian foreign relations environment on the level of the international system, particularly with the US.

In general, the Gulf stance is considered a refusal to Iran's possession of nuclear abilities beyond peaceful purposes, yet this same stance excludes any tendencies towards escalation with Tehran.

*Abdul Jaleel Al Marhoon a Bahraini researcher in the Gulf affairs field and has been working in Arab newspapers, magazines and various research institutions. He has also written books- “Post Cold-War Gulf Security”, “Post Iraq-War Gulf Security” and his third book was entitled “Gulf Security and the Nuclear Armament Issue.”

- Asian Tribune -

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