Oman Joins Muslim Saudi-led Coalition to Fight Against Terrorism

Oman has traditionally been resistant to efforts from Gulf Arab states to close ranks against the Islamic Republic if Iran. However, it has now joined a coalition led by Saudi Arabia of Muslim nations to fight against terrorism, both Gulf and Saudi sources have said this week,

The sultanate showed a willingness to be part of an alliance of 40 countries in a letter sent to the Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, said sources.

Although it is rare that difference become aired publicly, Oman long stood out amongst its allies in the Gulf. The Sultanate has long worried that wider confrontation in the region between Saudi Arabia and Iran could threaten its stability and looks to play the role of conciliator.

One source said that Oman has openly taken policies and positions contrary to Gulf positions in relation to the region. This shows now that the Oman has returned to the consensus of the Gulf against Iran and its positions politically.

One of the sources said that the move by Oman was a shift geopolitically within the region due to Oman being known to be close to Iran, the longtime enemy of the Saudis and Gulf countries.

Saudi Prince Mohammed is expected to fly to Muscat during the upcoming weeks to prepare for King Salman to visit said the sources.

One source said that Oman changed direction in the region following a realization of a lack of seriousness and benefits by being cooperative with Iran.

The alliance was announced by Saudi Arabia during December of last year a move that was welcome by the White House, which has urged a more regional involvement to fight against ISIS militants who are in control of vast swathes of area in both Syria and Iraq.

Although the coalition is not aimed explicitly at Iran, the group includes neither Iran nor its allied government that is in Iraq.

Oman looked on with worry as the rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite controlled Iran spread across the area.

The government of Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC members, of which Oman is one, believes that Tehran is interfering in Arab nations through the use of sectarianism and building a sphere of its own influence in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has backed opposing groups to Iranian proxies in outright war or unrest in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. It has succeeded in persuading nearly all of the states in the GCC to close their ranks against Iran and Oman sought to keep itself distant from that.

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