The Gulf union

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Muna Al-Fuzai muna@kuwait­

News of the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) sum­mit in Bahrain last week made head­lines in all Arab me­dia. Prior to this meet­ing, Arab me­dia raised spec­u­la­tions and de­bated about the pos­si­bil­ity of an an­nounce­ment of the es­tab­lish­ment of a Gulf fed­er­a­tion dur­ing this sum­mit. While some were urg­ing Gulf lead­ers to pro­claim the Gulf union, others stressed that re­gional and international cir­cum­stances won’t make this pos­si­ble. In all cases, the GCC sum­mit achieved its pro­posed goals.

The Gulf union is an old dream of the peo­ple of this re­gion and its in­hab­i­tants, es­pe­cially the founders, be­cause it speaks about good and strong re­la­tions, given the links be­tween the peo­ples of the GCC coun­tries. But all this wasn’t enough to of­fi­cially an­nounce a union, de­spite the em­pha­sis on the im­por­tance of re­la­tions be­tween these coun­tries, which is also very im­por­tant. The Gulf union has not been an­nounced of­fi­cially, but the visit of Saudi King Sal­man bin Ab­du­laziz to Kuwait as part of his Gulf tour was very suc­cess­ful and achieved its de­sired ob­jec­tives.

We all know that Saudi Ara­bia’s re­la­tions with Gulf coun­tries, es­pe­cially Kuwait, are steady and strong and can­not be shaken, be­cause we face the same threats, com­mon des­tiny and con­flicts. So even if the Gulf union wasn’t of­fi­cially an­nounced, it is clear that we are whole­heart­edly with Saudi Ara­bia. Be­ing a Kuwaiti cit­i­zen, I am very sup­port­ive of such a trans­for­ma­tion, which is an im­por­tant step in the right direc­tion.

The GCC sum­mit suc­ceeded in high­light­ing the unity of the Gulf at a time when many coun­tries in the Arab world are hostage to se­ri­ous eco­nomic con­di­tions such as poverty, in­ter­nal con­flicts, loss of se­cu­rity and dis­place­ment of pop­u­la­tions. I also be­lieve that the pres­ence of Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May at the Bahrain sum­mit was an in­di­ca­tor con­vey­ing an international mes­sage about the im­por­tance of the Gulf sum­mit and Euro­pean ties.

The fi­nal state­ment of the sum­mit pointed out the im­por­tance of mem­ber states’ com­mit­ment to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the GCC rail­way project, along with the re­jec­tion of the Ira­nian oc­cu­pa­tion of the three is­lands be­long­ing to the United Arab Emi­rates. Ob­ses­sion with se­cu­rity is a key fac­tor here and is jus­ti­fied by many el­e­ments, and it is the right of al­most 50 mil­lion peo­ple (the pop­u­la­tion of the Arab Gulf states) to main­tain pros­per­ity in their coun­tries when most Arab coun­tries are fall­ing apart due to re­li­gious con­flicts and per­sis­tent vi­o­la­tions of hu­man rights, par­tic­u­larly as the Gulf states are one of the largest and most im­por­tant economies in the world (worth around $1.60 tril­lion).

It is nat­u­ral to have se­cu­rity as a pop­u­lar de­mand that can lead to strate­gies to in­crease the strength of these coun­tries to pro­mote their re­gional and global role and poli­cies. We need eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion be­fore a po­lit­i­cal union, as we can­not ig­nore that the fall in oil prices changed many pri­or­i­ties, and there­fore it is nat­u­ral for ev­ery state to con­sider its in­ter­nal cir­cum­stances and ar­range its po­si­tions ac­cord­ingly. The GCC sum­mit high­lighted this in­te­gra­tion and the need for it, which means that ev­ery­one has agreed to work to­gether. The GCC sum­mit achieved its goals con­sid­er­ing the dis­turb­ing po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tions faced by all Gulf states, but also sent a mes­sage to all hos­tile forces that the Gulf is sound, strong and se­cure.

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