Coordination and cooperation efforts between Saudi Arabia and the UAE are ongoing amid several regional wars and crises. The two stable Gulf countries are surrounded by a number of “failed” regimes and other regimes that have unsuccessfully tried to escape the quagmire of terrorism and violence.
It has been a difficult time for these countries, especially due to sectarian, racist and fundamentalist rhetoric that fuels divisions and pushes armed militias and parties toward absurd conflicts.
On the first week of December, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan issued a decision to form a cooperation committee between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
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The committee’s tasks will be to “cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, commercial and cultural fields and other fields as required by the two countries’ interests.” The committee will also have “all the needed jurisdictions to carry out its tasks.”
Before that, specifically in May 2016, they signed an agreement in Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah to establish a coordinating council.
Among the issues, which Abu Dhabi and Riyadh seek to work on, is maintaining security and stability of the Gulf and shielding it from unrestHassan Al Mustafa
A sovereign decision
This strong cooperation between the kingdom and the UAE is the result of a sovereign decision by the two countries. It does not make one follow the other and it does not imply that the two countries have matching perspectives on all matters, as each country values its own national interest.
This bilateral relation reflects the two state’s capabilities to overcome differences and neutralize them so they do not turn into obstacles that delay possible mutual work, which is necessary to address urgent challenges.
Confronting terrorism, violence and sectarian rhetoric and deterring the threat of politicized Islamist groups, which exploit religion for partisan purposes as well as Iranian expansion in the region and the presence of armed groups, are among the many areas they cover.
These matters cannot be efficiently addressed by one state alone, and they require efforts on the intelligence, security, economic and cultural fronts. Any complete project can be the gist of the experience of several countries, which have visions that somehow resemble one another and which have mutual interests and mutual enemies and threats.
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Among the issues, which Abu Dhabi and Riyadh seek to work on, is maintaining the security and stability of the Gulf and shielding it from unrest since it is the most secure Arab region and the one with the most financial capabilities at the moment.
Any structural shortcoming can harm Gulf countries and lead to chaos and conflicts weakening a united front against Iran. This will create gaps which groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS will be able to exploit to carry out destructive operations in Gulf countries. This is a grave threat, which we must be aware of and prevent from happening.
The alliance between the UAE and Saudi Arabia must not worry any of their neighbors because it seems to create a safety net, which everyone will benefit from. This alliance can be the core of a strong and efficient alliance that compensates for the disputes and stalemate in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in middle east and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.