The role of geopolitics in GCC unity


Stereotypes and generalizations are both associated with an uneducated mind, as relations and interests are subject to change. Furthermore, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have a common history, with Saudi Arabia leading the group with its geographical size and large population.

The objectives of the GCC are to effect coordination and interconnection between member states in all fields, so as to achieve unity between them and to deepen and strengthen cooperation between their peoples.

All current member states are monarchies, two absolute monarchies (Saudi Arabia and Oman), three constitutional monarchies (Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain) and one federal monarchy (United Arab Emirates).

Prior to the 21st century, Saudi Arabia and Qatar developed a historical bilateral relationship and maintained cordial ties, with Qatar mainly subservient to Saudi Arabia in matters relating to foreign policy.

Geopolitics gives importance and power to the GCC, and it can be an instrument of political warfare. Furthermore, geopolitical ideas can be a convenient vehicle for the justification of political decisions taken on other grounds. The intended effect is to give coherence to certain political aims.

This year, as Iran, the world’s prime sponsor of terrorism, threatens the region and kills its own people who protest against it, the GCC Summit will find a way to resolve the dispute with Qatar and to better tackle regional challenges to build a coalition against Iran and maintain security.

Sooner or later relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar will improve, and we all look forward with optimism to achieving the aspirations of the Gulf people for unity. However, the situation will not change unless Qatar responds positively and maturely to demands that it normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.

Eventually, unity strengthens any entity and division weakens it. Thus, acting individually will not make any state strong enough to be able to face and overcome crises without solidarity with its neighboring countries. Especially, when those neighbors are interconnected and share the same geopolitics, traditions, religion, blood, political system and language.

— The author is a Saudi political analyst specialized in International Relations. She can be reached at: Twitter: @EkleelBS