Fu­ture of an Al­liance

Frag­men­ta­tion and proxy wars among the GCC mem­bers pose a threat to the fu­ture of the re­gional al­liance.

Southasia - - COVER STORY - By Huza­ima Bukhari & Dr. Ikra­mul Haq

Dur­ing the 33 years of its ex­is­tence, the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil com­pris­ing the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia, United Arab Emi­rates, the State of Bahrain, the Sul­tanate of Oman, the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait – has achieved many ob­jec­tives for which it was es­tab­lished. There have been many chal­lenges con­cern­ing se­cu­rity is­sues, but the GCC is striv­ing hard to re­main rel­e­vant and vi­brant in the ever-chang­ing re­gional and in­ter­na­tional sce­nario. The se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the Gulf re­gion, es­pe­cially after 9/11 and Arab Spring, poses a ma­jor chal­lenge to the GCC, both in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally. While deal­ing with th­ese prob­lems, the GCC coun­tries have forged a suc­cess­ful eco­nomic union, like the Euro­pean Union.

The GCC coun­tries hold a key area for the in­ter­na­tional econ­omy gen­er­ally and for western coun­tries specif­i­cally as they sup­ply more than one-third of the world's oil. The cre­ation of the GCC in 1981 was an at­tempt to bal­ance power in the face of threats at that time from both Iraq and Iran. An­a­lysts are of the view that de­spite hav­ing the back­ing of the United States and the west, the GCC coun­tries could not achieve this ob­jec­tive. How­ever, ex­ploit­ing the sit­u­a­tion, the western pow­ers, mainly the U.S., man­aged to se­cure mil­i­tary bases in some GCC coun­tries. This irked many groups inside the mem­ber states and else­where in the Mus­lim world, giv­ing birth to armed re­sis­tance in some. The groups soon spread to coun­tries where strug­gles against Amer­i­can and western oc­cu­pa­tion was go­ing on, no­tably in Afghanistan.

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