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Editorial: Welcome back, Oman!

Oman’s decision to join the Saudi-led coalition of 40 Muslim countries to counter terrorism could not have come at a better time. It is a harbinger of good news, one that signals the coming together of the forces of good against the forces of evil. As we are about to enter 2017, this augurs well.
It is a most welcome development because the unity this move will bring about among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other like-minded Muslim states will make it that much more difficult for enemies to exploit perceived chinks in the regional armor.
Oman belongs to this region. It is among the founders of the GCC. It has a rich history and is a haven of stability. It shares its history and destiny with other Gulf countries. It is back where it rightly belongs.
This will provide a major boost to the military alliance, and will isolate those who have been trying to exploit disunity in regional ranks. In one fell swoop, Saudi Arabia and Oman have scored a massive diplomatic and historic victory.
Credit for this must go to the sagacious leaderships in both Riyadh and Muscat. They rightly realize that the challenges this region and the Muslim world face can only be countered by closing ranks and presenting a united front. Now regional unity is complete.
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is widely credited for forging the Islamic Military Alliance, has repeatedly underlined at many GCC meetings the need for unity in the face of fast-changing geopolitics. He has highlighted the benefits that can accrue from standing united.
Oman has always been a key part of the GCC. For various reasons, it decided to keep away from the alliance when it was first announced in December last year, but it is now firmly back. What has happened in the past is the past. This heralds a new chapter in regional and Muslim unity.
By presenting a united front and seizing the initiative at a crucial time in the history of the Muslim and Arab worlds, the GCC states have clearly demonstrated that they are the real leaders of both worlds.

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