Gulf Stability

RIYADH/DOHA/BERLIN | | saudi-arabienyemen

RIYADH/DOHA/BERLIN (Own report) - Germany is further reinforcing its relations to the dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsular and will roll back Iran's influence with their help. This was the primary result of German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle's trip to the Persian Gulf, which terminated today with a detour to the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. In Riyadh, Westerwelle declared that Saudi Arabia, Iran's traditional rival, is the "regional leading power" having, therefore a "key role to play for the region, as a whole." In cooperation with the oil monarchy and several emirates at the Gulf, Berlin is seeking to also keep the Yemeni regime in power, which is threatened by local anti-western domestic forces, some of which are in contact with Iran. The German government is linking its political stabilizing measures to business projects, carrying prospects of tighter bonds between the Gulf countries and Germany, as well as lucrative profits and globally reinforcing the competitive position of German companies. For example the "Deutsche Bahn" wants to establish a railroad system on the Arabian Peninsular. Solar energy boom companies are seeking billions in contracts in the Arabian Desert to help them hold their ground against their Chinese rivals.

Leading Power

The German Foreign Minister's weekend trip to the Arabian Peninsular has reinforced relations between Germany and the local dictatorships. According to the German delegation, talks in Riyadh were particularly successful and in depth.[1] Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle subsequently declared that Saudi Arabia is the "leading regional power" playing "a key role for the region as a whole." This declaration is significant because it recognizes Saudi Arabia's Persian Gulf claim to leadership and therefore confronts Iran's growing influence. Teheran seeks more influence. Around 2005, an Iranian strategy paper was published proclaiming that "in twenty years Iran will be a developed country, an economic, academic and technological regional forerunner."[2] Riyadh is opposing these efforts with Berlin's help. For decades the ruling Saudi clan has been willing to subordinate its interests to those of the West, whereas Teheran stands in opposition to the West.

GCC Railway

Berlin is linking its political stability measures to business projects at the Persian Gulf - not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the five other dictatorships at the Persian Gulf, which, with Riyadh, are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).[3] Last year Qatar and the United Arab Emirates drew attention through billions in business deals with German companies. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[4]) The business relations are now being extended. Over the weekend, numerous German managers traveled in the Foreign Minister's entourage to broker - with political support - deals in Riyadh, Doha (Qatar) as well as in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates). Among those heads of companies was Ruediger Grube, board chairman of the Deutsche Bahn, which in November had landed a 17 billion Euro deal to construct a national railroad system in Qatar.[5] The Deutsche Bahn is hoping to get more contracts. The construction of the GCC Railway, a railroad network, linking the entire Arabian Peninsular from Kuwait to Oman including a spur to Yemen, is planned for next year.

Undermine Iran

German participation in this mega-project - estimated volume at between two to three-digit billions - was being negotiated years ago by the former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder and his close affiliate, the long term head of the Deutsche Bahn, Hartmut Mehdorn.[6] Both are still actively pursuing this project, as presidium members of the foreign business German Near and Middle East Association (NUMOv). Martin Bay, NUMOv board Chairman, who is also Chief Administrator of the Deutsche Bahn International, is also pursuing the project. GCC Railway is of immense geostrategic importance. It will connect the Gulf coast to the Red Sea by rail - thereby facilitating the safe overland transport of raw materials from the Gulf to the vicinity of the Suez Canal. According to economic experts, "the Gulf countries" know very well that Iran "in a crisis situation, can block the entry" [7] to the Persian Gulf - the Straits of Hormuz. GCC Railway invalidates this option and therefore contributes toward weakening Iran.

Billions in Business

Other business deals seek the extension of relations between Germany and the dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsular - and profits. Several Gulf countries have initiated ambitious programs in the field of renewable energy to maintain their leading position in the energy sector against the rising ecological industry. Forty-five percent of all extractable petroleum reserves and a third of all natural gas deposits are on the territories of the GCC countries. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is reputed to be significant for the worldwide proliferation of the corresponding technology, has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi.[8] This is why cooperation with the Gulf countries is of interest to German ecological branch companies, especially for the seductively high profits that can be expected. For example the emirate of Qatar intends to install a photovoltaic power plant worth around a US $1 billion and is already engaged in talks with foreign investors. Also in Foreign Minister Westerwelle's entourage on this trip to the Gulf was the head of the Solarworld Company, with headquarters in Bonn. He is interested in that billion dollar deal. Last year Solarworld, founded in 1998, had returns of a billion Euros and is seeking to expand further, to be able to hold its ground in competition with its Chinese rivals. Chinese companies have become, with a wide margin, the world market leaders in photovoltaic.

Independent - From Teheran

On the foreign minister's trip, billion Euro business deals were somewhat eclipsed by the accentuation of tensions in Yemen. In Riyadh, Westerwelle declared that "Yemen must remain a sovereign and independent country." His Saudi counterpart warned that "external interference" in Yemen must not be allowed.[9] The German - Saudi demands were being addressed to Iran, which is said to be giving aid to the Northern Yemen civil war militia - the Houthi rebels, which like the Teheran government are Shiite Moslems. Saudi ships are already cruising off the Yemeni coast, to prohibit possible Iranian arms deliveries to the Houthi Rebels. Saudi warplanes have bombed Houthi positions on various occasions. The Berlin - Riyadh alliance is seeking to thwart Teheran from gaining a foothold in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsular. It goes without saying that the German - Saudi demand that Sanaa must remain "sovereign" is not in reference to the western countries and their Arabian cohorts' direct interventions in Yemen, nor to the Yemeni regime's extensive dependence on Washington, Berlin and Riyadh.[10]

Please read also Gulf State Military Partner, Partner in Occupation, Old Allies, German Arab Maneuvers, Feudal Investors (III) and Europe's Limitations.

[1] Mit Sorgen von den Saudis nach Sanaa; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10.01.2010
[2] Johannes Reissner: Irans Selbstverständnis als Regionalmacht. Machtstreben im Namen antikolonialer Modernität; SWP-Studie S 29, Oktober 2008
[3] The Gulf Cooperation Council members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
[4] see also Feudalinvestoren, Feudalinvestoren (II) and Feudal Investors (III)
[5] see also Die Qatar-Bahn
[6] see also Boomdiktaturen and Die Qatar-Bahn
[7] Saudi-Arabien plant umfangreiche Eisenbahnprojekte; gtai 19.11.2009
[8] see also Kampf um IRENA
[9] Außenminister wollen Jemen stützen; tagesschau.de 09.01.2010
[10] see also Off the Coast of Yemen and The New Front