Saudi Arabia is senior member of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) as it has the largest economy and armed forces between all the members. Saudi Arabia is also an active member of the Arab League and has been championing a number of Arab and Islamic causes. These include Bosnia's fight for independence in the 1990s, as well as Afghanistan's fight against the Soviet invaders in the 1980s. Saudi Arabia was also a major contributor towards the liberation of Kuwait in the 1990s, whilst a decade before that it backed Saddam's war against Iran. In terms of economic assistance Saudi Arabia has backed numerous social and infrastructure projects in the Arab and Islamic world.
Saudi Arabia 's most consistent regional policy has been the backing of the Palestinian cause since the creation of Israel in 1948. Saudi Arabia has paid millions of Dollars in assistance to the Palestinians (mainly to the PLO), has participated and financed negotiations with Israel and wars against her. The Saudi oil embargo of the West in the 1970s was one of the most powerful tools used by any Arab country in raising the international profile of the Palestinian cause.
As the home of the Mecca pilgrimage, every year Saudi Arabia is home to 3 - 4 millions of Muslim pilgrims and therefore the country sees itself as a centre of Islamic studies. This is further strengthened its membership in the Islamic World League and as the organizer of numerous Islamic conferences.
As the largest Arab economy, the ruler of the holiest Islamic land and with one of the most modern armed forces in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia continues to play an important role in the Middle East region and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This is also evident in the country's continued contribution and participation for the resolution of conflicts in the region.
International Participation and membership
Saudi Arabia is a active member of a number of trade and economic organisations such as the World Bank, IMF and OPEC. It has also been a long standing member of the UN, the Arab League and a large number of Arab and Islamic financial and religious organisations. Jeddah is the headquarters of the Secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Islamic Development Bank.
By: Meir Javedanfar- www.meepas.com