Organization: The Gulf Council


Event: Yale-MUN 2004, Alternative Assignment

Student: Noufah Al-Sabah

 

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An appropriate song ("circle in the sand")


The GCC




 

I. Organization and Function

 

A. What is the GCC?

The GCC stands for Gulf Cooperation Council and its name indicates what it is. It is an organization that promotes cooperation between the six Gulf States, which all have some sort of land that lies on the Persian Gulf. Those six Gulf states are Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Those nations share a lot of common characteristics between each other. They all have the same language which is Arabic, they have similar histories ( were mainly fishermen, pearl divers and Bedouins then later after the oil was discovered they gained money), they all have common goals and characteristics. This council promotes cooperation and collaboration between those six states in every aspect, be it economy, political policies, etc. they all try hard to become as close together as can be and therefore portray unity within the Gulf region. This helps them be a powerful bloc in the UN and in other international meetings, etc.

 

B. Function

The states of the lower Gulf and Saudi Arabia share a similar economic, social and political situation. On the hand, they all have a relatively small population, high per capita income and relatively low capacity to absorb capital. On the other hand, they have acquired significant importance in world politics since World War II as a result of the discovery of oil and their oil potential reserves. Throughout the last three decades, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates(UAE) have produced and exported most of the region's oil, possessing an overwhelming share of the world's oil reserves. They began to play an influential role in shaping regional and international policy orientations toward the Middle East. Throughout the last three decades, Saudi Arabia and its GCC partners have produced and exported most of world's oil consumption and played an important role in shaping the policies of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (AOPEC). The foreign policy concerns of the GCC states, as summarized by Hermann Eilts, are of three kinds: first, those that are immediate, urgent and compelling; second, those that involve unresolved Gulf area disputes affecting interstate relations; third, those that involve emotionally charged dispute, either significantly or marginally affecting the Gulf states' security.

The GCC has achieved from the beginning a high degree of success when compared with other Arab groupings. Rules and bylaws are often ignored within the GCC when they are perceived as an obstacle to the achievement of a particular purpose. This said, the institutions of the GCC are modeled on the ones of the European Union. They comprise: the Supreme Council which brings together the six heads of state once a year to set the principles of GCC policies, Supreme Council that also acts as the Commission for the Settlement of Disputes; the Ministerial Council composed of the foreign ministers which meets every three months; and the General Secretariat a permanent body located in Riyadh, that supervises and supports the implementation of GCC policies The communication and effectiveness displayed by the GCC administration have no precedent in the history of Arab organizations. The latter usually have been limited partnerships in which each member acted relatively independently.

The GCC holds formal meetings every 2 years that involves the leaders of state of every nation, and which are held to address the main leading international issues in the world, and the gulf region and which serve as a symbolic reunion for all the GCC officials and civilians. The official meetings and conferences however are held in the GCCí headquarters in Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. It is headed by a secretary general and has delegates from all those 6 nations present. The voting is by a majority vote, each country has one vote each. The big brother of the GCC is Saudi Arabia, it acts as the US in the UN. You could even say its got a sort of veto that isnít really there but is invisible but has some power like the power of pressuring nations in the GCC.

 

C. History of the Organization

The six Persian Gulf states of the Arabian Peninsula-- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE--formed the GCC in May 1981 with the aim of "co-ordination, integration, and co-operation among the member-states in all fields." Although none of the committees initially established dealt with security, the final statement of the first meeting affirmed the will and the intention of the signatories to defend their security and independence and to keep the region free of international conflicts. Four months later, the chiefs of staff of the armed forces of the six member states met to discuss regional military cooperation. The immediate objective was to protect themselves from the dangers posed by the Iran-Iraq War and the political violence associated with revolutionary Islam. In a series of meetings over the years, the defense ministers and chiefs of staff devoted numerous sessions to the improvement of military cooperation and the creation of a joint command and joint air defense mechanisms. Managing their common security challenges collectively has made progress in some areas, but little in others. Creation of a fully integrated air defense system was far from a reality as of early 1993. The GCC states have not realized plans to develop an arms production capacity, although they have launched a new effort to revive an earlier arrangement with Egypt to create a pan-Arab weapons industry.

Political differences among GCC members have been the main obstacles to placing gulf defense on a collective rather than on a bilateral basis, even in such matters as achieving interoperability of equipment and cooperating in training, logistics, and infrastructure. The GCC experienced delays in reaching agreement to cooperate in internal security matters because Kuwait, the chief target of terrorism, feared that its relatively liberal domestic security regime might be impaired. Until Kuwait agreed to a GCC agreement in late 1987, Saudi Arabia and several other members of the GCC coordinated their efforts bilaterally, including the exchange of equipment, expertise, and training; the extradition of criminals; and the interception of border infiltrators. GCC members have adopted parallel policies on deportation and travel restrictions and share information on suspected terrorists and plots.

Ground and air units of the six member states have carried out small-scale combined training exercises. Military assistance, provided mainly by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait under GCC auspices, has enabled Bahrain to modernize its stock of combat aircraft and Oman to improve its air and sea defenses around the Strait of Hormuz. In 1984 GCC defense ministers agreed to create the Peninsula Shield force and base it at Hafar al Batin in Saudi Arabia, about sixty kilometers south of the Kuwaiti border. Under the command of a Saudi general, the unit consists of one Saudi brigade and a composite brigade with token personnel from the other states.

The limited reaction of the GCC to the August 2 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait exposed its weakness when faced with direct aggression against a member of the alliance by a much stronger power. The GCC immediately condemned the Iraqi action, but when GCC defense ministers met three weeks later, they could only agree on strengthening the Peninsula Shield force. During the Persian Gulf War, national contingents deployed separately as units of Arab task forces.

At the conclusion of the war on March 3, 1991, the six members of the GCC, along with Syria and Egypt, met in Damascus to agree on the establishment of a permanent security force to protect Kuwait against future aggression. Syria and Egypt were to contribute troop contingents on a reimbursable basis. The Damascus Agreement soon unraveled when differences emerged over the desirability of a long-term Egyptian and Syrian presence in the gulf. However, Egypt and Syria remain committed under the agreement to send military aid to Kuwait and the other gulf states if a threat arises.

Kuwait subsequently negotiated defense cooperation agreements with the United States, Britain, and France as an additional form of security if its borders were again threatened. At a GCC meeting in late 1991, Oman proposed that the six GCC members develop a 100,000-strong joint security force under a unified military command. The Omani plan was set aside after other defense ministers questioned whether the manpower target was attainable and whether administrative and procedural problems could be overcome. The agreement of the ministers was that the Peninsula Shield force should be the nucleus of a unified army, the realization of which might be many years in the future.

 

 

 

II. Budget Considerations



All the budget of the GCC comes from donations or in other words presents from the GCC. The nations that are involved do not actually pay a fee or something for entering or rather they just give presents and it budgets accordingly to those presents. For example if Saudi Arabia increased its paying then the GCC budget would increase.

The best thing about the GCC is that all the nations that are a part of it are rich and thus do not ask for aid from the others. This aid spans in the millions to billions of dollars, and sometimes even more. Remember all the nations are well off nations so this figure is not so strange to their budget spending. The GCC has its own officers and secretary general, who acts like a secretary but does not have a lot of power, since its mainly in the hands of the heads of state of those nations. The GCC so called council cannot make a decision without first consulting with the heads of states and Saudi Arabia mainly to see if it agrees with the Islamic rules and regulations that are always shifted to include Saudi Arabia's opinion and how it feels.

 

 

 

III. Strengths and Weaknesses



A. Strengths:-

1. The GCC States seek to build up their defense forces according to a common idea. They have unified operational procedures, training, and military curricula. They also attempt to accomplish compatibility of their military systems. Moreover the armed forces of the GCC States carry out joint military exercises with the Peninsula Shield Force, as well as joint air and sea maneuvers. Among the important achievements in the military field is the creation of the Peninsula Shield Force in 1982, which incorporates the credibility of the GCC will. Another important achievement was the resolution taken during Kuwait summit in 1997, which entailed to link the GCC Member States with a military communication network for early warning.

2. The GCC states all have shared common characteristics and views on world problems which allows them to be an important independent and mutual force in the UNís decision making, etc. they always vote the same on issues and share common feelings towards nations such as Israel and the US.

3. The GCC promotes joint and mutual work on the part of the nations involved and the citizens, it has a lot of mutual works and privileges that are shared by its citizens such as traveling from place to place within the gulf region without a passport, but only with an ID.

4. It also promotes sustainable development plans, and develops all those plans cooperatively between the nations involved, it has a lot of developmental plans such as the "common curriculum" that was developed to serve as a common curriculum between all the GCC nations schools, etc. but this is scheduled to be applied later as it is developed.

5. It promotes economical cooperation between nations such as the united common currency that is going to be launched in the next 5 years and will serve as a common currency between those nations.

6. It promotes a healthy feeling of cooperation between nations in all aspects, be they sports like the Gulf cup they sponsor every 2 years or economy like the banning of tariffs between nations, etc.

 

B. Weaknesses:-

1. With regards to external security the Gulf states will is not that stable and is conspicuously lacking. Even if the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait seem to have solved the perception-discrepancies in identifying which was the most alarming regional threat there still are significant differences of opinion on the best way to deal with the other regional power. For example on the one hand Oman is keen to Ďengageí Iran in a regional security dialogue and aims at building up an effective GCC joint force, on the other hand Bahrain is so concerned with the necessity of an American security guarantee that it opposes the creation of more than a token GCC unified military force. This is for fear of alienating joint security ties with the United States. The GCC is utterly unable to speak with a single voice on security matters. One of the symptoms of this phenomenon is an unbelievable differentiation in arms importing policies (on which the GCC states spend about 37% of the developing world total).

2. Border disputes are a second point of conflict among GCC states. Historically border disputes on the Arabian Peninsula have resulted in major clashes between states whose territorial claims had been settled by tribal agreements. Sovereignty in this part of the world traditionally applied to peoples not territories. Nomadic peoples pledged alliance to a Sheik and then roamed quite extensively. This posed immense problems when separation of territorial borders became extremely important because of oil. The recent delay of the difficult Bahrain-Qatar dispute over the Huwar island to the International Court of Justice, as opposed to any regional body, is a painful reminder of the obstacles lying in the path of further organizational integration.

3. A lot of people might refer to the GCC as an "all talk and no act" organization because it does not go ahead with all its plans and only places aims that are not reached like the currency and common curriculum which are sort of an invasion of the countryís privacy but its kept hushed up by the common belief that the GCC makes all the nations involved into one nation.

4. They always meet together as the heads of states but nothing else happens before this or as this is happening. The GCC doesnít function without the approval of the heads of states and nothing is planned only after they meet. This does not help in the way of things accomplished and is too time wasting.

 

 

 

IV. Steps for a Better Council



The GCC should first of all act like a council and have democracy. They should not only allow the heads of states to agree and then apply the laws, etc. Saudi Arabia should not have a leading role in the GCC and have the ability to control all the laws, etc. by hinting that its doing just as the Islamic religion allows. The GCC should really have action done, in the form of committees and organizations and not in the form of one council doing everything after a compromise is being reached by the heads of state. It should have delegations from every nation and not the heads of states, since this will ensure democracy and make it less formal than what it is now and more functional and easygoing in order for it to better function as a council in applying and reaching goals.

The GCC nations should have one and I repeat only one foreign policy towards nations and not separate policies like we are seeing now in Bahrain ( pro American) and Saudi Arabia ( not such an ally of the US), as opposed to Qatar ( somewhat friendly with Israel with its embassy) and the rest of the GCC who are all strictly against Israel and donít have any political ties, etc.

The GCC also should have a common currency so as to ensure easy trading between nations and hooked economies. It should also have a budget , instead of the so called donations. This budget should be paid by each nation and be based on this nations GDP or size, or equally between all nations. So that no nation has an advantage and gains the leading role in this GCC. The GCC should also be political and not so religious, so that Saudi Arabia would not have a easy time controlling and influencing the councilís plans, etc. to suit itself.

 

 

 

Opening Speech



Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman , and Qatar.

These are 6 influential nations, all of which are connected by a single thread. A thread based on the premise of COMITATUS. All for one and one for all! This binding and everlasting and indomitable thread is the Gulf Cooperation Council, a successful organization planted and based in a desert of turmoil, violence and terror. This palm of peace, prosperity and collaboration has demonstrated the importance of teamwork and bonds between nations in achieving goals and solving problems.

The main problem on this councilís agenda right now is the rebuilding and restoration of Iraq. The GCC nations are working hard together and with other nations from the UN such as the US and France in achieving this goal. They would like to call upon other nations to help in this journey to restore and re-establish Iraq as it was before the tyrant and terrorizing regime. The GCC hopes that others lend aid, guidance, and effort in this journey. By taking into consideration a significant Arab proverb, it would like to remind all nations that "a journey of a thousand miles starts with only one step"

Thank you