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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 21, 1971


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    Report on a conference of Gulf students and their statement regarding independence efforts in the Arabian Gulf.
    "The Preparatory Conference of the League of Arabian Gulf Students in Beirut ," February 21, 1971, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 10, File 6D/10, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford.
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The Preparatory Conference of the League of Arabian Gulf Students in Beirut

The League of Arabian Gulf Students held a preparatory Conference in Beirut, Lebanon, on 18-21 February 1971.

Representatives of the following Leagues were present:

The National Union of Bahraini Students - Lebanon branch

The League of Omani Students - Lebanon branch

The League of Trucial Coast's Students - Lebanon branch

The League of Qatari Students - Lebanon branch

The League of Saudi Students - Lebanon branch (as observers)

The Conference was held at the Centre of the National Kuwaiti Students' Union, on Bliss Street in Beirut.

They agreed to hold a general conference of Gulf students in Cairo in the second half of May 1971 and formed a committee made up of the following Gulf students in Cairo to organise and prepare for the Conference:

Hamdi Mohammad, Issa al-Jami, Hind Shouran, Mamdouh Younes, Samiha Radwan, and Jumaa Ali al-Mu'men.

The Preparatory Conference issued the following statement:

The Arabian Gulf region is passing through one of the most sensitive stages of its history; the struggle for independence and national liberation has escalated at a time when investors and reactionary elements are redoubling their efforts to maintain their presence in the region and continue stealing the national wealth, exploiting the people, and keeping them in a state of subjugation and backwardness.

This is evidenced by the frantic efforts underway to create an Arabian Gulf Emirates Union with the intention of dealing a hard blow to the revolution and to nationalist forces, preserve imperialist interests, and maintain the colonial presence and the antiquated tribal rules. They aim to do this by unifying the entire potential of the Gulf's Emirates into a single political entity.

The introduction of superficial changes to these frayed regimes is nothing but a manoeuvre intended, on one hand to double-cross the masses and on the other, to foster an atmosphere conducive to the establishment of a union of emirs who support imperial designs in our region.

These changes are linked to the terrorism that targets our people, to police pursuits, and to the ever-increasing numbers of youths thrown into dark and frightening detention centres and jails. Not a single day passes without a new batch of honourable citizens being arrested, so as to scare our people, deter then: from pursuing their struggle for independence and freedom, and impede their ongoing efforts to improve their living and social conditions.

The colonialists' schemes aimed at maintaining hegemony over our region are not limited to the use of tyrannical and torture methods, but go well beyond that to planning for the long term. They pursue a policy which keeps our people ignorant and deprived of well-educated and trained cadres capable of managing its national economy and investing into its national wealth. They aim to prevent our people from delving constructive humanistic cultural pursuits and seeking inspiration from our popular culture and arts. They work at obliterating the history of our people's long struggle against invaders and occupiers.

The current state of terror that prevails in the Arabian Gulf region makes it difficult for our students and youth to gain access to the culture, literature, and knowledge that humanity has produced; progressive thinking is denounced, its proponents are thrown in jail, and are wilfully hurt through their very means of livelihood.

The main objective of our Union is the struggle to upgrade our countries’ school curricula, eradicate reactionary material and pro-colonial texts from them, provide employment opportunities that suit the qualifications of secondary school and university graduates, provide scholarships to all students desirous and qualified t university education, establish higher education institutions to train specialist in areas relevant to the country's needs, and to openly establish a students' organisation in the Arabian Gulf that has the student's interest at heart and seeks to improve their academic and living conditions.

The implementation of the students' demands is not in any way separate from the political and military struggle against colonialism and reactionary forces. The backwardness and adverse conditions our students are compelled to live under in our country are the result of the colonialists' and their agents' hegemony, and of the tribal rule which is tightly linked to it.

The armed struggle and its development into a force capable of withstanding the onslaught of colonialism and its reactionary forces on our Gulf region are, therefore, the core objectives and bases of our Union.

The situation in our region is not in any way separate from the situation that prevails in our Arab nation; for it is facing a savage colonial onslaught represented by Israeli imperialist attacks on the Arab countries and the ongoing colonial plot to subjugate progressive Arab regimes. These regimes emanated from Arab national liberation movements and constitute an essential component in the international front against imperialism, at the head of which stands the socialist bloc led by the great Soviet Union.

Our Conference unlimitedly supports our Palestinian Arab people in their struggle to regain their just right to live on their own soil; their legitimate right to self-determination; and their pursuit of various methods, including an armed struggle, to achieve their objectives. Our Conference supports the people of the Southern Arabian Peninsula in their struggle to establish a revolutionary government on all their national territory.

Our Conference supports the struggle of our people in the Arabian Gulf by all possible means, as well as their current armed struggle to achieve their goals. We call upon our struggling students to seize the initiative immediately to volunteer and train on carrying weapons in preparation for the decisive battle on the day of our Gulf’s liberation from colonialism and its agents.

Our activities in favour of the Arabian Student’s Union emanate from our awareness of the situation that prevails in our Arabian Gulf region that suffers under the colonialists’ hegemony. Every patriot who loves his country should struggle relentlessly in order to save this region and establish a national democratic government that would enable us to realise the objectives to which we aspire. Our Preparatory Conference believes that the success of our masses' struggle could be realised only through a national front comprising all nationalist forces active in the Arabian Gulf region.

In view of these facts, and in order to carry out these responsibilities, representatives of the Leagues of Arabian Gulf Students abroad held a preparatory meeting in Beirut on 18-21 February 1971 and, after reviewing the students’ and national situations, approved this political statement and adopted the following resolutions:

On the Arabian Gulf Level:

To believe in the popular and political unity of the Arabian Gulf region and the need to link all struggle movements taking place within it.

To support national liberation movements in the Gulf region under the leadership of national forces.

To believe in the need to establish a national front across the Gulf region.

To support the armed revolution in the Arabian Gulf led by the Popular Front for the Arabian Gulf and the National Democratic Front in Oman, Dhofar, and Liberation of the Arabian Gulf, as well as the young armed revolution on the mountain tops of Ras al-Khaima.

To expose all schemes aiming at maintaining the authority of tribal governments and and the ‘musical chairs' policy.

To condemn the far-reaching campaign of arrests among national forces in Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and others.

To expose looting of our Gulf’s national wealth and support the workers' strikes with the aim of gaining their labour and political rights.

To expose and condemn Iranian, Saudi, and Kuwaiti reactionary movements that help fulfil American imperialist designs.

On the Arab level:

To condemn the far-reaching campaign of arrests among national forces in Saudi Arabia, their imprisonment without trial, and attempts at quashing the revolution in the Democratic and Popular Republic of Yemen; and to support the Committee for Joint Struggle in the Southern Arabian Peninsula.

To salute the positions taken by the Democratic and Popular Republic of Yemen in in support of the revolution in the Arabian Gulf.

To support the struggle of our Palestinian Arab people to achieve their just right to live on their own soil and exercise self-determination.

To condemn the savage slaughter in Jordan and expose the plots to liquidate the fedayeen’s activities.

To condemn imperialist and Zionist attempts to create an entity along the lines of the Palestinian State Project.

To support Eritrean armed revolution and the revolution in Western Somalia.

On the International level:

To support the liberation struggles of the peoples of Indochina and Latin America.

To salute the position taken by Socialist Bloc countries in support of national liberation movements in the Arabian Gulf and across the Arab Nation.

To condemn racist and chauvinistic methods, combat racial and all types of discrimination, and believe in human rights principles.

On the students' level:

To condemn the reactionary authorities' tyrannical methods and police pursuits against our students within the country, and support their just struggle to obtain the right form unions and exercise their political rights.

To support the students' struggle from within.

To salute the Omani students' attempts at forming their own student union. To work diligently for the establishment of a General Union of Gulf Students.

Long live the student movement in the Arabian Gulf.

Long live the unity of revolutionary forces in the Arabian Gulf.

Glory and eternal life to our innocent martyrs!

The Preparatory Conference of the League of Arabian Gulf Students


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