RIYADH - Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will weigh closer political union at a summit of Gulf Arab leaders on Monday aimed at pooling efforts to neutralize Shi'ite Muslim protests in the region that they believe is instigated by Iran.
Iran denies that it is behind unrest among Shi'ites in oil-producing, Sunni Muslim-led monarchies across the Gulf. But after popular uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world over the past year, US-allied Gulf Arab leaders are increasingly concerned that an uprising in Bahrain could bring a Gulf Arab nation under Iranian sway.
"The summit will discuss all the points, including the points of union," said Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa after preparatory talks in Riyadh on Sunday.
When leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which also takes in Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, met in December, Saudi King Abdullah called on the six to move "to the stage of unity in a single entity".