In Brief... World News Review: Saudi King Says Arab World Waiting to Explode

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In Brief... World News Review

Saudi King Says Arab World Waiting to Explode

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AFP reported on Dec. 9, 2006: "Saudi King Abdullah opened the annual summit of Gulf leaders with a warning that the Arab world was on the brink of exploding because of conflicts in the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Lebanon. "'Our Arab region is besieged by a number of dangers, as if it was a powder keg waiting for a spark to explode,'" King Abdullah said. He was addressing the heads of state of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Arab Times of Kuwait reported Dec. 10 that the leaders were instructing their security agencies to come up with a joint plan to deal with the risks arising from the situation in Iraq, including "population displacement, terrorist and criminal acts and the smuggling of weapons…and infiltration" of militants across borders. The recommendations also called for protecting the GCC states from the potential "sectarian repercussions" of the conflict in Iraq. The Sunni-dominated GCC countries have Shiite minorities, except Bahrain where Shiites are in the majority (although its ruling family is Sunni). In apparent response to Iran's nuclear program and Israel's admission to having nuclear bombs, the Gulf countries also announced plans for a joint atomic program. "The countries of the region have the right to nuclear energy technology for peaceful purposes," said Abdul-Rahman al-Attiya, secretary-general of the GCC. GCC leaders also discussed steps toward establishing a common market by 2007 and a single currency by 2010. WNP