Gulf security: No Consensus
Whitehall Paper, 18 Jun 2004
By Rosemary Hollis
It is only comparatively recently that the present configuration of independent states in the Gulf was established. This helps to explain the sensitivities of tem all to the issue of external intervention in the area. Iran, under the revolutionary regime that overthrew the Shah in 1979, remains especially suspicious, since the US, among others, intervened in the war prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Iran in 1980, to ensure that Iran would not gain outright victory. Meanwhile, it was a combination of Soviet and Western suppliers that enabled Iraq to assume the military strength that it did before it invaded Kuwait. That invasion was then reversed by a US-led multinational coalition.
It is with this historical background in mind that the discussion in this Whitehall Paper is presented. Each of the main players in the Gulf—Iran, Iraq, the GCC and the West—is examined in turn and an account given of their respective views on Gulf security. Not surprisingly, not only are they different, but, in substance as opposed to rhetoric, they are largely incompatible.
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