Thursday, June 02, 2011

New Club for Growth of the GCC

Pierre Razoux, senior research adviser at the NATO Defense College, has an op-ed in the New York Times.
The proposal to enlarge the Gulf Cooperation Council to Jordan and Morocco, made at a council summit meeting in Riyadh last month , marks a profound change in the nature of the organization as it reaches its 30th anniversary. This decision, which went practically unnoticed in the West, is all the more worthy of attention in that it is likely to usher in long-term changes in the region’s political scenario.

Initially set up to provide a safeguard against an Iranian military threat and to create regional economic integration in the Arabian peninsula, the Gulf Cooperation Council has moved away from its early agenda and now operates as a club for the Arab monarchies.

The council’s aim is simple: to defend by all means possible the region’s eight monarchic regimes. It fears that the fall of even a single monarchy could have irreversible consequences for all the rest, undermining the legitimacy of the reigning families and opening the gates to all those in the Arab world who are looking for more liberty, justice and equality. This is why the Gulf monarchies have intervened to quash the popular uprising in Bahrain.
A domino theory.

Maybe. I just don't see any of the rich monarchies falling. Even if they liberalized which I hope they will do.

I also don't see Jordanian or Moroccan troops taking up arms to quell unrest in any GCC country, though they might if there was an external attack. Remember during Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, Arab workers from poorer countries were expelled from GCC countries because they showed sympathy for Saddam.

I'm not ready to take the expansion of the GCC as likely just yet.

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7:01 PM  

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