The six gulf states started to examine the idea of forming a stronger political union than the current Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the summit held on May 14 in Riyadh. The project is scheduled to start with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain but the Shiites, backed by Iran, are opposing the initiative.
The small Bahrain has been rocked by the Arab Spring for some time now, violently repressed, with repercussions for foreign policies as well. The plan can be seen as an explicit message to Iran not to interfere in the region. Particularly in Bahrain, where a Sunni monarchy, accused of discrimination, rules over a large Shiite majority. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar - which represent the other four countries of the oil block together with Kuwait and Oman - are the two strongest economies after Saudi Arabia.
The two sheikdoms fear that they will be completely overshadowed by Riyadh once this proposed union is formed. (ANSAmed).