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Iran and the Gulf cooperation council sheikhdoms
chapterposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Shahram AkbarzadehShahram Akbarzadeh
Iran has long held volatile relations with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), upon which Iran-Saudi rivalry has inevitably cast a long shadow. Saudi Arabia is the largest and most powerful member of the GCC, hosting its headquarters in Riyadh. The GCC was formed as an initiative of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in response to the perceived threat that revolutionary Iran posed to the region. The war between Iran and Iraq (1980-8), which broke out after Saddam Hussein attempted to claim Iranian territory, was watched with concern in Riyadh and other capitals in the region. Indeed, Iran’s post-1979 revolutionary zeal and Ayatollah Khomeini’s message of mass revolt against US-friendly regimes had changed regional dynamics radically. The rise of revolutionary Iran forced a recalibration of regional alliances and, despite the history of a difficult relationship between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, presented Baghdad as the most credible bulwark against the Iranian threat for Riyadh. The formation of the GCC was, therefore, part of a broader anti-Iran push.