chapter  1
33 Pages

The Southern Gulf States

WithAnthony H. Cordesman

The differences between each Southern Gulf state are as important as the similarities-particularly in a world which is critically dependent on energy imports and trade with the Gulf. The political and socio-economic problems are likely to be as important in shaping the security and stability of each Southern Gulf state as are external threats and military capabilities. Each of the individual Southern Gulf states has different strategic needs and vulnerabilities. Kuwait and northwestern Saudi Arabia (the location of most of the Kingdom's oil facilities) are vulnerable to land attack from Iraq. Saudi Arabia is the largest Southern Gulf state in terms of both geography and military forces and is the key to any successful effort at regional cooperation in defense. The military problems are as critical in shaping the security and stability of each Southern Gulf state as are external threats and military capabilities.