The local edition of THE DAILY STAR newspaper here in Kuwait shouted the following front page story on the 14th of May 2007:
"Kuwait Says 'Enough Wars.'"
This title piece was based on comments from the Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammed Al-Sabah. He stated emphatically that over the past quarter of a century his region in the gulf had seen too many "destructive wars" and indicated the region did not need "to see another one" soon.
Al-Sabah was, naturally referring to the tensions between the United States and Iran.
Many leftist pundits in the USA had predicted that the USA would attack Iran sometime in 2007. Luckily, this has not come to pass.
However, the language in the local Kuwaiti papers are not always so pacifistic as in the aforementioned DAILY STAR headline.
Two weeks earlier in late April, another local paper, the ARAB TIMES, had headlined on the first page a different article predicting that "10 days of Bombing" Iran will "Quiet down the President"of Iran's rhetoric.
These sort of contradictory statements in the Gulf press have been going on for more than a few months in all of the Gulf regions' media sources.
One day a confrontation with Iran is imminent and the non-Shia states in the region need to back opposition Iran, especially the incursions by the Iranian government, or the region must strongly counter the supposed Iranian nuclear threat.
In the following week, we hear a statement from one government or other in the region that the Gulf region is seeking long-term integration and peace with their Persian neighbor.
All this flip-flopping should come as no surprise when one notes that on the one hand, there is a millennia-old antagonism between Shias and Sunnis in the region. On the other hand, many Gulf Region states have a high percentage or citizenry with fairly direct familial connections in Iran and in the Shia regions of neighboring Iraq.
This means that almost all Gulf countries have to be sensitive to their own population's preference for non-confrontation with Iran.
On the whole, from my perspective in Kuwait, I don't see any great support here by the public for a U.S. attack on Iran.
On the other hand, there is an obvious great dependence on U.S. assistance-especially military assistance-in the Gulf kingdoms and states. In 2007, this has led the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to explore publicly the idea of creating its own nuclear energy program.
To clarify, the Gulf Cooperation Council is primarily an economic block of states. It consists of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman. These countries have more oil combined than about any other group of states on the planet.
Why would they want to invest in nuclear energy at this time?