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Relationship of Saudi Arabia with principalities of the Persian Gulf during the period from 1973 to 1978.

i. V. Komerova


Work is presented by department of general history and the international relations of the Russian state university of S.A. Yesenin. The research supervisor - the doctor of historical sciences, professor Yu.I. Losev

Article is devoted to relationship of Saudi Arabia with principalities of the Persian Gulf during 1973-1978. The author of article focuses the main attention to roles of Saudi Arabia in association around himself principalities of the Persian Gulf for the purpose of preservation and consolidation of the existing mode in the Kingdom.

The article is devoted to the relations between Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Principalities from 1973 till 1978. The author of the article pays attention to the role of Saudi Arabia in joining the Gulf Principalities near itself to save the regime in the Kingdom.

After the IV Arab-Israeli war of 1973 there were significant changes in a picture of the international relations in the Middle East. Growth of the authority and influence of Saudi Arabia and emirates in the Arab world became one of important results of war. During 1973-1978 there was a further strengthening and expansion of relationship of the Arabian monarchy in military, political, economic, cultural and other spheres. The community of basis and superlinear institutes was the major factor defining relationship of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE and Oman, a factor which forced these countries to seek for coordination of the domestic and foreign policy.

In 1973-1978 the bilateral relations between principalities of the Persian Gulf quite actively developed. Saudi Arabia sought for every possible development of the relations with the neighbors. It tried as it is possible to attach to itself these countries more closely. Development of the saudo-Bahraini relations in this regard was especially indicative.

Ruling circles of Bahrain gave to development of the relations with Saudi Arabia huge value as it influenced not only the relations with other emirates of the Persian Gulf, but also an internal political situation in the country. Due to military expenses, huge for the small country, Bahrain constantly felt a lack of funds. This deficit was generally covered at the expense of loans and gifts from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. Besides, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain carried out many joint construction projects. It is important to note that implementation of these projects (first of all the dam connecting the Bahraini archipelago with east coast of Arabia) had not only economic, but also defensive value. As the American press wrote, "the dam will include Bahrain directly in the system of the Saudi defense" [3]. Bahrain located near the main oil sources of Saudi Arabia had for the last a strategic importance. Not accidentally Bahrain was elected for stroi25 1


telstvo of the first military base of Saudi Arabia outside the country.

During the considered period Saudi Arabia watched closely an internal political situation in Bahrain. At the end of 1973 according to the Constitution on Bahrain, elections to National assembly (parliament) of the country were held. During elections of considerable success the progressive and liberal forces which formed in National assembly the block which made the requirement of carrying out in the country of reforms [1, page 168 achieved.]. Results of elections caused strong discontent of governors of Saudi Arabia. This "experiment with National assembly" caused discontent and other Arabian monarchic regime.

Governors of Bahrain were dissatisfied with succession of events in National assembly, but they did not dare to dismiss it, being afraid that it will cause bigger discontent in the country. Saudi Arabia, put massive pressure the Bahraini government. In August, 1975 the National assembly was dismissed by the decree of the governor of Bahrain Iza bin Salman Al Khalifa. Explaining this decision, the prime minister of Bahrain said that "certain Gulf States... expressed the concern about our decision. They were anxious with what events on Bahrain can damage also to them... We are not the isolated island and we do not wish that Bahrain became a source of alarms for our neighbors" [2, page 517].

The policy of Saudi Arabia for Bahrain visually reflected the growing influence of Saudi Arabia on internal political processes in the Arabian principalities. The nature of the relations of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in this regard is indicative. Trade between them is developed poorly, at the same time export and re-export from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia increased (in 1976 - 9 million Saod. rials, in 1977 - 27.2 million Saod. rials, in 1978 - 120.5 million Saod. rials), import from Saudi Arabia tended to reduction (1976 - 2.6 billion Saod. rials, 1977 - 2.2 billion Saod. rials, 1978 of-358.8 million Saod. rials) [5, page 95]. At the same time Kuwait and Saudi Arabia sought to expand cooperation in such areas as nuclear power, desalting of sea water, use of water resources, etc.

In the mid-seventies in Kuwait the internal political situation became aggravated. Progressive forces of the country demanded expansion of the rights of opposition and granting the equal rights to Arab immigrants with indigenous people. In 1976 the emir of Kuwait issued the order on dissolution of parliament of the country and closing of a number of newspapers. Crisis of 1976 was result not least of pressure of Saudi Arabia dissatisfied with an experiment of democratic institutes in Kuwait.

In 1973-1978 in the Saudi-Kuwaiti relations there were periods of deteriorations. It was connected with discontent of Saudi Arabia with independent approach of Kuwait in a question of the Soviet-Kuwaiti relations. It should be noted that Saudi Arabia did not manage to achieve failure of the Soviet-Kuwaiti negotiations on sale of the Soviet military equipment to Kuwait. Saudi Arabia was also dissatisfied with policy of the crown prince of Kuwait Jabar the expert Sabah who "moved nomads from the tribe adzhman from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait as it touched on a delicate issue of breeding balance in Saudi Arabia" [4, river 424]. In general it is possible to tell that disagreements between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia did not affect the main strategic objectives of ruling numbers of these countries: preservation and strengthening of the monarchic modes and fight against forces of progress in the region.

Settlement of a vzaimootnovzaimootnosheniye of Saudi Arabia with principalities of the Persian Gulf during the period from 1973 to 1978 was of great importance for the region in 19731976

sheniye of Saudi Arabia and UAE. Settlement of a long boundary problem promoted not only to strengthening of the bilateral relations, but also led to strengthening of internal political positions of the president of the UAE Zaid bin Sultan of An Nahayan. The reason of it is that the question of an oasis of Buraimi in the 1970th turned not so much into a territory question, how many into a question of the principle and prestige both for Feysal, and for Zaid. Settlement of a problem of an oasis of Buraimi in favor of the UAE can be considered as a victory of the sheikh Zaid. It was especially important in conditions when the aspiration of the president of the UAE to centralization of the power encountered the persistent resistance of traditionalists who till 1974 enjoyed active support of Saudi Arabia. Rapprochement with Saudi Arabia allowed the president of the UAE to receive in exchange change of a position of the Saudi leaders in this question.

Rapprochement with Saudi Arabia was important also for the UAE in connection with a border dispute between it and a sultanate Oman. Signing in 1976 during the visit of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi of the contract on cooperation in safety became one of the most important results of improvement of the relations between two countries.

Very close relations with Saudi Arabia were maintained by Qatar. At the end of 1973 between two countries an agreement on consultations on all questions of foreign and domestic policy was signed.

Qatar in the foreign and domestic policy practically is always guided by Saudi Arabia. It is indicative that the most part of the building of security forces of Qatar consisting in the late seventies of 2200 people was staffed with natives of Bedouin tribes of Saudi Arabia.

1973-1978 were time of fast rapprochement between Oman and Saudi Arabia. At the heart of the close relations between Qaboos and Saudidami's mode the joint fight against the national liberation movement lay. These years Saudi Arabia strengthened the financial aid to Oman. In the policy in relation to Oman Saudi Arabia pursued two main goals: liquidation of the national liberation movement in Dofar and weakening of the position of Iran in this country.

In general during the considered period Saudi Arabia managed to strengthen considerably the positions in principalities of the Persian Gulf, proceeding from the main foreign policy strategy directed to creation of favorable external conditions for preservation and consolidation of the existing mode. In 1973-1978 Saudi Arabia concerned by strengthening of political and military positions of Iran in the Persian Gulf took steps directed to weakening of these positions with the allies. Saudi Arabia sought to create prerequisites for creation of the military block of monarchic Arab Gulf States.


1. A.M. Rodriguez. The Arabian monarchy in the 20th century: economy, policy, social structure. New York, 2000.
2. Arab Political Documents. Beirut, 1985. Doc. 320.
3. Foreign affairs. 03.12.1979.
4. The Middle East and North Africa. 1977-78. L., 1978.
5. The Middle East and North Africa. 1980-81. L., 1981.
Paul Edwards
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