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By Sonoko Sunayama

The nature of the connection among Syria and Saudi Arabia throughout the oil period poses many questions for the commentators and analysts of inter-Arab politics in this interval. Why have those states pursued collectively conflicting goals in virtually each significant nearby or foreign international coverage factor? Why, over the process the earlier thirty years, have they typically propagated contrasting ideological banners whereas either performing as if a few type of an alignment existed among them? the following Sonoko Sunayama explores the plain paradox at the back of this longstanding dating and argues that what finally makes Saudis and Syrians so integral to one another is the notion and the historic attraction of 'shared identities', be they Arabism or Islam.

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The Ara b Co ld Wa r ', 1961–1966 The temporary confusion and lack of direction that followed the UAR plunged the Arab world into turmoil. For Syria, the subsequent five years was a period of repairing the psychological and political damage caused by the ideological setback and the dissolution of political parties under Nasir's order. Syria's leftist leaders intensified their Arab nationalist campaign by on the one hand actively courting Egypt and Iraq for another union (Kienle, 1995), and on the other, keeping in line with Egypt in denouncing the conservative kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf SYRIAN-SAUDI RELATIONS BEFORE CAMP DAVID 29 shaikhdoms.

1992). Under strong domestic pressure, even Quwatli was left with little choice 26 SYRIA AND SAUDI ARABIA but to forsake the Saudi connection (Petran, 1972: 121). This fallout between Syria and Saudi Arabia was manifest in the event that the leading Saudi opposition leader, Nasir al-Sa’id—a chief instigator of the 1956 uprising in Hasa and a participant in the formation of the Arabian Trade Union Association—was given haven in Syria following his uprising. Later in 1958 he founded a pan-Arab, Nasirist organisation, the Union of the Peoples of the Arabian Peninsula (Ittihad Shu'ub al-Jazirah al-'Arabiyyah) (Abir, 1988: 76; Salamé, 1993: 600n9).

First of all, it increased the channelling of funds to Syrian politicians and Syrian press to this end. Second, in January 1955 when Faris al-Khuri's government in Damascus failed to show a decisive opposition to the Turkish-Iraqi pact, Saudi Arabia and Egypt exerted pressure to bring his government down and to reinstate Quwatli (Kimura, 1983: 59). The Syrian President Atasi claimed that ‘Saudi agents [were the] most SYRIAN-SAUDI RELATIONS BEFORE CAMP DAVID 25 troublesome’ (Rathmell, 1995: 96).

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