Oman Joins Saudi Coalition for Economic Interests

Oman Joins Saudi Coalition for Economic InterestsOman Joins Saudi Coalition for Economic Interests

A lawmaker said Oman's Thursday announcement that it has joined a Saudi self-proclaimed anti-terror Muslim coalition is economically-motivated and unlikely to affect Oman's "stabilizing" role in the region.

"According to my experience, Oman should have joined the Saudi coalition with preconditions ... to protect its economic interests and trade with its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors," Seyyed Javad Abtahi also told ICANA on Sunday.

The so-called "Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism" was established by Saudi Arabia in December 2015.

Muscat said it joined the coalition "within the context of the importance to achieve peace, security and stability in regions dominated by armed terrorist violence."

The purpose of the coalition of over 30 countries, which does not include Iran, Iraq and Syria, still remains unclear a year after its founding.

Oman is the only Persian Gulf state that had not joined the Saudi-led campaign against Houthis and their allies in Yemen.

Abtahi praised the Omani government for its positive role in the region, which differs from "the violent behavior" of its neighbors in the six-member (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council.

"Muscat has always endeavored to maintain equilibrium in the chaotic Middle East and has been a trustworthy mediator," he said. Oman, traditionally on friendly terms with Iran, has often sought to play the role of a conciliator in disputes between Tehran and western capitals.

However, Abtahi warned Muscat, a "neutral player" in the region, to be careful about "Saudi influence [in its decisions], as otherwise its long-term interests will be at risk".

The news comes in the lead-up to Saudi Prince Mohammad's planned visit to Oman in the coming weeks and a subsequent trip by King Salman.


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