Reports in many media including separately by Reuters and Bloomberg say that Oman is joining the Saudi-led ‘Islamic alliance against terror’. This alliance is widely assumed a force lead by Saudi Arabia against Iran, despite any doubt suggested by its name.
The timing of the letter signed by Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib al-Busaidi, Oman’s Minister responsible for Defence comes ahead of a visit by the Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reported by Bloomberg above, whose arrival may help plan an arrival by his father King Salman. This visit would be the first to Oman by a Saudi monarch since 2006.
Iran has a substantial number of intended investments into Oman, including a critical gas pipeline, vehicle manufacturing plant in Ad Duqm along with very recent passenger ferries between Omani and Iranian ports. Though Saudi has not had such an involvement, there have been recent meetings between Oman and Saudi regarding investment towards Oman and there are substantial investments in Oman by other Saudi allies such as the UAE and Qatar.
The Oman/Saudi border crossing has been waiting to open for some time this agreement may lubricate the gates on the border. Of probably more interest to both parties is the situation in Yemen that already impacts Saudi Arabia and has potential to spill over into Yemen’s eastern border provinces, which border Oman.
However, despite commentary regarding this agreement, Oman’s longstanding relationship with Iran is one Oman clearly values and which one can imagine will not be downgraded because of this agreement.
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