When will Bahrain Know that Its Interests are Priorities, not Saudi Arabia
2021-09-04 - 3:56 am
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): How much proof does the government of Bahrain need to realize that Saudi Arabia is not its mother, older sister or aunt, because the balance of interests is not ruled by such sentimental labels.
Like other countries, the "big sister" looks after its economic, political and security interests.
One proof is when the Coronavirus pandemic negatively affected the economies of countries over the world and each country increased austerity measures, including Saudi Arabia, as Bahrain was informed that it would not receive payments planned under the financial balance program.
These payments were supposed to be part of a $10 billion loan that had been pre-scheduled, but Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi have breached the agreement because they were facing exceptional circumstances due to the effects of the pandemic that have forced them to borrow or withdraw from their savings.
This shows that Riyadh is not prepared to sacrifice in such disasters for the sake of its younger sister or other countries. That's because the focus is on the higher interests of Saudi Arabia and its citizens, and this is a natural right.
Another proof is Saudi Arabia taking punitive measures against Bahrain (halting production of the Abu Saafa field) when it considered that the 2006 Free Trade Agreement between Bahrain and the US had harmed its national interests and fell outside the GCC system.
This is on the economic level. On the political level; however, the current proof of Saudi Arabia only caring for its interests is its reconciliation with Qatar without considering what this means to Bahrain, which continues to receive Qatari media and political attacks, while Riyadh and Abu Dhabi carry on the reconciliation.
This also goes with regards to the restoration of normal relations with Turkey, as the path of reconciliation is proceeding steadily, Ankara has appointed a new ambassador in Riyadh, as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have made the first contact in years.
Where is Bahrain amid all of this? It has no important place. As arrangements are made between major countries in the region, the Bahraini government awaits, in a spectator position, the outcome of the new arrangements taking place in the region.
Bahrain will remain waiting to know whether Turkey would turn to it and forgive its boyish roles, such as issuing a declaration of support for a maritime agreement between Greece and Egypt that Turkey considered a threat to Mediterranean traffic.
As for relations with Iran, dialogues between Iran and Saudi Arabia will resume as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi finishes forming his administration, according to a meeting between Iran's Foreign Minister and his Saudi counterpart on the sidelines of the Baghdad summit, which Bahrain has not been invited to.
The Bahraini government followed the footsteps of Saudi Arabia in severing ties with Iran in January 2016, a donation from the government that Saudi Arabia did not ask for, without considering what Bahrain could do in bringing views closer if the government were indeed rational.
In fact, Bahrain is a small country and cannot bear the consequences of messing with large regional countries, or sensitive issues such as: bringing Israelis to the region, the war on Yemen, or working to disrupt Gulf-Gulf relations as it is trying to do today.
Bahrain, from its geographical nature and status, could have played a strategic role in achieving rapprochement and stability in the Gulf region, and that was really when the Manama Dialogue began in its early years, 17 years ago, to bring together all regional and international players from a responsible and national perspective, when Bahrain viewed its interests with some realism away from dependence on its sister country.