West Concerned Over Gulf Succession Struggle

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This is more evidence that Saudi Arabia could fall into the radical Islamic, anti-Western, pro-terrorist camp. If this happens, what are the prospects for winning the War Against Terrorism?

Hyperlink: http://www.menewsline.com/stories/2001/september/09_25_5.html

Copyright, Middle East Newsline, Fair Use For Educational and Research Purposes Only


WASHINGTON [MENL] -- Western governments are quietly watching the dilemmas of leadership succession in Gulf Cooperation Council states. Western diplomatic sources agree that the aging leadership in most of the GCC states raises questions over the stability of these regimes. They said the succession issue will be a key element in both the future of these countries as well as their relations with the West. "It's a subject that nobody will touch publicly, but is on the minds of those who deal with this area," a diplomatic source based in the Gulf said.

More than 25,000 British and U.S. troops are based in the Persian Gulf area. In addition, the GCC states comprise leading clients of British and U.S. weaponry. The focus of Western concern is the aging leadership in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Over the weekend, Kuwait faced political uncertainty amid a stroke that felled Emir Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah. Al Sabah, 73, was rushed to London over the weekend for treatment for what was described as a "limited brain hemorrhage." The collapse of the emir has prompted concern in both Arab and Western capitals. Saudi King Fahd, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair called Kuwait to inquire of the emir's condition.

But succession problems are believed to be even more acute in Riyad, where Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, the heir to the throne, is 76 years old. His brothers are in the same age bracket.

The rulers of Bahrain and Qatar are younger men who unlike their GCC counterparts have pressed for reform. Bahrain is rife with unrest by the Shi'ite majority. Oman has a leadership that is older than that of Bahrain and Qatar.

A study published by J. E. Peterson in the Washington Quarterly, a publication of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the succession struggle could turn ugly and undo the reforms pledged or launched by GCC states. The study said the leadership in Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates might be succeeded by weaker rulers.

Only Bahrain and Kuwait have permitted the establishment of elected legislatures. Kuwait's parliament has been suspended three times amid conflicts with the ruling sheiks.

Peterson called on Britain and the United States to help GCC countries through their succession woes. The author pointed to the drop in income by Bahrain and an expected leadership struggle in the UAE leadership. "Although the next generation may be more liberal, it may not be willing to countenance the changes and reforms required by changing circumstances -- including more appropriate rules of succession," Peterson wrote. "Thus, the West, particularly the United States and Great Britain because of their influential standings in these states, should strongly encourage regimes to liberalize politically as well as economically before the reputations of Western countries in the region fade into alienation."

-- Robert Riggs (rxr.999@worldnet.att.net), September 26, 2001


In other words Mr.Peterson is asking that we engage in more of the same thing that got us in this mess in the first place,meddle in other countries business.

-- Edward C Elliott (eell@webtv.net.), September 26, 2001.

Or, we could just sit back, let these states re-form into terrorist-supporting governments, and let them tear us to pieces.

What's all this basic survival instinct I've heard about since I was a kid? Was it all hogwash?

-- Uncle Fred (dogboy45@bigfoot.com), September 26, 2001.

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