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Kings of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia hold talks



King Salman of Saudi Arabia hosted the King of Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa at the Al Auja Palace in Diriyah on Saturday. Also present at the meeting was Governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar, State Minister Prince Mansour bin Mitch bin Abdul Aziz, and Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir. They reviewed bilateral relations, as well as the latest regional and international developments. King Hamad was keen to acknowledge the fraternal support of both King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their continuing support.

Some observers may consider this to be a case of Saudi Arabia marshalling their allies following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey. This was strengthened following King Hamad’s speech when he pledged support to Saudi Arabia and its legal system and criticised the international witch hunt.

Though indeed, the Khashoggi affair has now faded into the background of Middle East affairs with the arguments between Iran and President Trump of the United States. Though how much of that dispute is for voters in the mid-term elections is open to conjecture, and we will just have to watch the rollercoaster that is current American foreign policy.

Speaking of the United States, King Hamad is popular with both Republicans and Democrats. He was congratulated over initiating an inquiry into the deaths of demonstrators at anti-government demonstrations by Senator Hillary Clinton and met with President Trump in May of last year. It will be interesting to watch over the coming months as to how this pans out.

In some ways, we want to avoid this being the World versus the countries of the Middle East, but we must also consider that the countries in the Middle East to a point follow sectarian beliefs within Islam with some countries like Bahrain being controlled by Sunni Muslims and others like Syria and Iran being controlled by Shi’ites.