The history of the Gulf is being rewritten again. This is in effect what the strategy of resolve announced by the UAE and Saudi Arabia is going to be all about.
Since the establishment of the UAE by its founder, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the region has not witnessed as important an event with such economic, political, military, security and strategic implications for not just the two countries but the region as a whole.
We don’t need to mention that the strategic cooperation covers all domains as these details are already well known; rather, it is important to know the impact of the new approach. The two economies will be in $1 trillion in size and rank 15th in the world with a population exceeding 40 million. Add the fact that the two produce about 45 per cent of Opec’s output, making them a global energy powerhouse.
Their trade volumes exceed $750 billion, and thus a systemically important bloc with a strategic location between vital trade routes on the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea. The projects to be implemented will turn the combination of the UAE and Saudi Arabia into a hub for tourism, petrochemical industries, modern technologies such as artificial intelligence and water desalination, all of which will see increased global demand.
On foreign investments, the two have agreed to cooperate and emerge with an investment capacity of over $2 trillion, which will prompt other regional and global hubs to go in for coordinated alliances.
A political force will also come into being, without which it would be difficult to resolve regional issues. The due will enjoy a clout necessary to identify various political tracks in the Middle East. The military and security cooperation will lead to radical change in the region’s balance of power, and make the combined force a leader among regional powers.
This will lead to bridging gaps in the current balance of power, which has been there since the fall of the Baghdad regime in 2003 and in turn led to the destruction of many Arab countries because of interference from hostile powers, such as Iran, which exploited this to dominate and expand. Certainly, mine is an optimistic view in a crisis-ridden regional environment with a long history of agreements that remain no more than dead letters.
However, the resolve this time is completely different and for many reasons. First, the strategy has a young and capable leadership with ambition, vision, sincerity and faithfulness. Indeed, this is what we can call the “Mohammadi epoch”, which aims to change the region and upgrade it to the rank of developed countries.
Second, unlike previous Arab agreements, an executive body has been set up to follow up on the implementation of agreed projects. A five-year time limit has been set for achieving what was agreed upon, meaning that the economic, political, military and security scene in the region will be different from now.
And what makes the strategy of resolve economically more important is that it offers one of the most vital elements for sustainable development and foreign investments, namely stability and security.
The strategy, which will turn the two countries into the first military force in the region, will enhance confidence and provide security guarantees for the stability of Gulf countries, given their ability to defend themselves after many years of dependence on others.
The strategy has indeed granted the people of the region greater confidence on future stability and security. This will be an impetus to provide everything possible to support the strategy of resolve and as a national duty for future generations.
Dr Mohammad Al Asoomi is a UAE economic expert and specialist in economic and social development in the UAE and the GCC countries.