37th GCC Sum­mit

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS - By Dr Has­san Jouhar

The Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) re­cently held its 37th sum­mit in Manama with­out any sur­prises, es­pe­cially with re­la­tion to the GCC union project, which re­flects lack of unan­i­mous in­te­grated vi­sions at the time be­ing, de­spite me­dia en­thu­si­asm and the sup­port pro­vided by some po­lit­i­cal figures and blocs in some mem­ber states, in­clud­ing Kuwait, to such me­dia cam­paigns. The sum­mit set­tled for tak­ing the tra­di­tional at­ti­tudes to­wards many re­gional and in­ter­na­tional is­sues and em­pha­siz­ing mem­ber states’ co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields.

Hes­i­tancy about declar­ing the GCC union, re­gard­less of its form and sug­gested le­gal or po­lit­i­cal struc­ture, re­mains the wis­est and most bal­anced op­tion at this stage be­cause the in­fras­truc­ture for re­gional in­te­gra­tion is still im­ma­ture, be it on eco­nomic level as for the uni­fied cur­rency or the joint mar­ket, or in terms of di­ver­si­fy­ing sources of in­come, in ad­di­tion to trans­port links and land and sea con­nec­tions amongst GCC broth­ers, though some of these projects, like the rail­way line, is un­der­way.

Po­lit­i­cally speak­ing and de­spite agree­ing on many is­sues amongst GCC cap­i­tals, at­ti­tudes are still di­verse and rel­a­tively dif­fer­ent to­wards some ma­jor re­gional and in­ter­na­tional is­sues in­clud­ing the sit­u­a­tion in Syria, Iraq, Ye­men and most re­cently Egypt, in ad­di­tion to Iran. The US presidential elec­tion re­sults made the sit­u­a­tion more com­pli­cated. In ad­di­tion, Oman’s at­ti­tude, in par­tic­u­lar, to­wards many of these is­sues might pre­vent the es­tab­lish­ment of a full GCC union or make it pre­ma­turely born, which might cre­ate a great deal of em­bar­rass­ment to such a long journey.

On the other hand, any project to de­clare the es­tab­lish­ment of a re­gional union upon se­cu­rity con­cerns alone would be more like a re­ac­tion to some of the hot is­sues men­tioned above, in­clud­ing what most GCC states con­sider as Ira­nian provoca­tive acts. It might also di­rect mem­ber states to­wards adopt­ing solid po­lit­i­cal tools and make ac­cel­er­at­ing de­ci­sions at the ex­pense of com­plet­ing the in­fras­truc­ture needed for more eco­nomic and cul­tural con­form­ity. Many sim­i­lar pacts made as re­ac­tions to mere se­cu­rity or po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tions could not hold for long and were doomed to fail­ure, such as the Arab Maghreb Union, War­saw Pact, Bagh­dad Pact and the Arab Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil.

GCC in­te­gra­tion must be made upon well-stud­ied foun­da­tions stem­ming from peo­ples’ wills and as­pi­ra­tions, in ad­di­tion to the chal­lenges GCC states are fac­ing in terms of sus­tain­able hu­man devel­op­ment, di­ver­si­fy­ing economies and ac­ti­vat­ing the role of GCC diplo­macy in mak­ing friends, which will make any fu­ture unity project be well-made in a promis­ing way.

— Trans­lated by Kuwait Times

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