The CCG at 40: strength in unity, but challenges remain
The CCG at 40: strength in unity, but challenges remain
From 1968, when the British government declared its intention to withdraw from the Persian Gulf by 1971, there was growing interest in the concept of Gulf unity. It paid off 40 years ago this month, with the establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The GCC is a regional political, economic, military and security organization that consists of six Arab countries that border the Gulf and include most of the Arabian Peninsula – Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.
It aims to strengthen ties between peoples and establish similar regulations in the economic, financial, commercial, customs, transport, educational, social and legislative fields. It also aims to advance scientific and technical progress in industry, mining, agriculture, water and animal resources, by establishing scientific research centers, establishing joint projects and encouraging cooperation between the private sector.
The Joint Peninsula Shield Force is the most important area of defense cooperation among GCC states. It was created in 1982 with the aim of protecting the security of member states and deterring any military aggression.
On the military level, the areas of joint Gulf defense work have also been strengthened towards more integration, cooperation and coordination; a joint defense agreement asserts that any attack on one of the GCC states is an attack on all. In March 1991, the Peninsula Shield Force participated in the liberation of Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion. He also helped protect Bahrain in 2011, at the behest of the kingdom’s government, when malicious Iranian hands sowed instability. The GCC has also participated in an initiative to resolve the Yemeni crisis, and it stands alongside Egypt and other Arab countries in supporting the cause of the Palestinian state.
The Gulf joint action march in recent years has made it possible to accomplish many complementary achievements and projects, in particular the establishment of the Gulf common market, customs union, monetary union, electricity connection. , the Authority for Economic Affairs and Development, Economic Justice, and other bodies specializing in various fields of defense and security. And developmental.
The GCC has set up 30 specialized bodies and institutions that actively support work aimed at increasing cooperation and integration.
Dr Hamdan Al-Shehri
The creation of a free trade area between the Gulf States in 1983 is one of the most significant economic developments of the GCC; the ratification of an economic agreement in 2001; the establishment of the Gulf common market in 2008; the start of the work of the Gulf Monetary Council in 2010; and the launch of joint economic institutions such as the Gulf Investment Corporation. The GCC has set up 30 specialized bodies and institutions that actively support work aimed at increasing cooperation and integration. As a result, trade between member states increased from $ 6 billion in 2003 to $ 1.1 trillion in 2018.
Over its four decades, the GCC has contributed to strengthening regional and international strategic partnerships with Arab countries and political blocs. One of its main objectives is to ensure coordination, integration and interdependence among its members, including the coordination of policies towards other countries and blocs.
Threats and dangers remain in the region, the first of which is Iran – its sabotage plans, expansionist policies, nuclear program, terrorist militias and ballistic missile program. Iran-inspired threats come from several directions – Yemen, Iraq and Syria – aimed directly at the security and stability of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Therefore, the GCC demands a strategy that protects the interior of the Gulf from harmful external influences.
In Yemen, for example, the Iranian-backed Houthi militia directly struck Gulf national security in early 2015 when they captured the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in a military coup against the legitimate government led by Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. It was a dangerous bend in the southern Gulf beside the Arabian Sea, into the Red Sea west of Saudi Arabia, and its entry strait, Bab Al-Mandab.
The Gulf States are aware of the scale of Iranian expansionist intervention in the region and of the danger posed by their security. Tehran is trying to penetrate the cordon from within by supporting Houthi militia and Shiite groups in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and is trying to dissuade Qataris from the union. On the outskirts of the GCC, Tehran also supports sectarian militias in Iraq and Syria. Gulf policies have been successful to some extent in reducing the risk of Iranian activities, but the Gulf states need a comprehensive strategy that compromises Iran’s ability to integrate its attacks on the Gulf’s security cordon. inside and out.
After the September 11 attacks on the United States, the GCC adopted mechanisms to combat terrorism and prosecute extremists, but it did not succeed sufficiently in limiting the activity of terrorist groups. Daesh has emerged and its influence has grown in all parts of the world. The fight against terrorism must remain a high priority for the Gulf States, as it threatens them both inside and outside their borders.
• Dr Hamdan Al-Shehri is a political analyst and specialist in international relations.
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