The GCC Between Confederation and Federation

The GCC Between Confederation and Federation

  • 29 August 2012

Three decades after its foundation, the Gulf Cooperation Council is still seeking a security system to achieve collective stability, benefitting all six member states and assisting the Council to both deter adversaries and reduce the financial costs of defense and security.

This lecture discussed the different phases of the GCC experience, focusing on the reasons behind the foundation of the GCC and its political, security and economic dimensions, as well the strategy for combating common regional challenges and threats. When the GCC was founded in 1981, the challenges outweighed the capabilities of individual states. This prompted the Gulf states to found the Council to deter adversaries and confront challenges via a strategic alliance covering security, political and economic matters, in conformity with the concept of social security. Over the past three decades, security concerns have been the common denominator among the Gulf states and the region as a whole. Our countries, therefore, sought to reinforce their individual and collective security capabilities. However, they were not able to overcome escalating and intensifying threats; Iran and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq continued to be the two powers embodying threats to the security and stability of the Arabian Gulf region.

Since 1981, the GCC states have built their military capabilities and bolstered the alliance by establishing the Al-Jazeera Shield Force (Peninsula Shield). However, this did not deter Saddam Hussein from invading and occupying Kuwait. After the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, the GCC States endeavored to expand the Arab involvement in securing the area and issued the ‘Damascus Declaration’ with Egypt and Syria.

As an alternative to the Declaration, the GCC states tightened their strategic and security relationships with the great powers, especially the United States, in an attempt to provide a security net for the GCC by achieving a balance of power in the region—albeit an ‘imported’ one. Another way to achieve this balance of power might be to expand the Council beyond its regional borders to include Jordan and the Kingdom of Morocco as members. This could reinforce the security capabilities of the GCC countries via a new formula (the 6+2) to replace the Damascus Declaration with expanded membership rather than coalition.

Other GCC milestones include King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz’s initiative to upgrade the GCC system from cooperation to unity, which His Highness presented to the Gulf Summit in December 2011 in Riyadh, as well as the evolution of the GCC states from the level of allies to the level of partners with the United States, as embodied by the first GCC–US Strategic Forum held at the end of March 2012.

Share

Wednesday 29 August 2012

-

Wednesday 29 August 2012

-