Monday, April 30, 2012

The Move Towards a GCC Union

Following are excerpts from an op-ed piece written by Abdullah Al Shayji in today’s issue of the Gulf News. It comes close to capturing the thinking and the mood in the GCC countries regarding Iran and the need for establishing a collective security response to the Iranian challenge, as I am witnessing during my short stay in the Persian Gulf region. Comments on Mr. Al Shayji’s piece are welcome as always.

"Once again the Arabian Gulf is the scene of a brewing cold war between the two sides of this strategic waterway… (pitting) Iran against the six countries that compromise the GCC.  
While Iran is being more accommodating towards the West (vis-à-vis P5+!), it is more belligerent, confrontational, provocative towards the GCC states, and the UAE in particular. A provocative and unprecedented visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the UAE’s Abu Mousa island, which is under Iranian occupation, was condemned with the UAE recalling its ambassador.  
Iran upped the ante, sending naval troops and submitting a bill in Parliament proposing the formation of the “Persian Gulf Province” with Abu Mousa as its capital!  
The UAE held joint military exercises with France, and GCC is holding an unprecedented joint military exercise in Abu Dhabi dubbed “Islands’ Loyalty,” as a clarion message to Iran.  
Strong rumors are making the rounds in GCC capitals about the announcement in the next GCC submit of a proposed union between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as part of King Abdullah’s proposal last December… about the need to move the organization from its 31-year cooperation phase to that of a union. The proposed name is the “GCC Arabian Union.”  
If that comes to pass, it will be a quantum leap from GCC’s lethargic and dysfunctional role as a collective security organization… in order to deal with the host of challenges and threats.  
More importantly, it is a strong move on the chessboard against Iran. Through that, a new era of Gulf politics is dawning, wherein the GCC states have finally started to think big."

Source: Gulf News. Monday, 30 April 2012.

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