Gulf Stability

Germany is further reinforcing its relations to the dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsular and will roll back Iran’s influence with their help. This was the primary result of German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s trip to the Persian Gulf, which terminated today with a detour to the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. In Riyadh, Westerwelle declared that Saudi Arabia, Iran’s traditional rival, is the “regional leading power” having, therefore a “key role to play for the region, as a whole.” In cooperation with the oil monarchy and several emirates at the Gulf, Berlin is seeking to also keep the Yemeni regime in power, which is threatened by local anti-western domestic forces, some of which are in contact with Iran. The German government is linking its political stabilizing measures to business projects, carrying prospects of tighter bonds between the Gulf countries and Germany, as well as lucrative profits and globally reinforcing the competitive position of German companies. For example the “Deutsche Bahn” wants to establish a railroad system on the Arabian Peninsular. Solar energy boom companies are seeking billions in contracts in the Arabian Desert to help them hold their ground against their Chinese rivals.

Leading Power

The German Foreign Minister’s weekend trip to the Arabian Peninsular has reinforced relations between Germany and the local dictatorships. According to the German delegation, talks in Riyadh were particularly successful and in depth.[1] Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle subsequently declared that Saudi Arabia is the “leading regional power” playing “a key role for the region as a whole.” This declaration is significant because it recognizes Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf claim to leadership and therefore confronts Iran’s growing influence. Teheran seeks more influence. Around 2005, an Iranian strategy paper was published proclaiming that “in twenty years Iran will be a developed country, an economic, academic and technological regional forerunner.”[2] Riyadh is opposing these efforts with Berlin’s help. For decades the ruling Saudi clan has been willing to subordinate its interests to those of the West, whereas Teheran stands in opposition to the West.
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