News of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Bahrain last week made headlines in all Arab media. Prior to this meeting, Arab media raised speculations and debated about the possibility of an announcement of the establishment of a Gulf federation during this summit. While some were urging Gulf leaders to proclaim the Gulf union, others stressed that regional and international circumstances won’t make this possible. In all cases, the GCC summit achieved its proposed goals.
The Gulf union is an old dream of the people of this region and its inhabitants, especially the founders, because it speaks about good and strong relations, given the links between the peoples of the GCC countries. But all this wasn’t enough to officially announce a union, despite the emphasis on the importance of relations between these countries, which is also very important. The Gulf union has not been announced officially, but the visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to Kuwait as part of his Gulf tour was very successful and achieved its desired objectives.
We all know that Saudi Arabia’s relations with Gulf countries, especially Kuwait, are steady and strong and cannot be shaken, because we face the same threats, common destiny and conflicts. So even if the Gulf union wasn’t officially announced, it is clear that we are wholeheartedly with Saudi Arabia. Being a Kuwaiti citizen, I am very supportive of such a transformation, which is an important step in the right direction.
The GCC summit succeeded in highlighting the unity of the Gulf at a time when many countries in the Arab world are hostage to serious economic conditions such as poverty, internal conflicts, loss of security and displacement of populations. I also believe that the presence of British Prime Minister Theresa May at the Bahrain summit was an indicator conveying an international message about the importance of the Gulf summit and European ties.
The final statement of the summit pointed out the importance of member states’ commitment to the implementation of the GCC railway project, along with the rejection of the Iranian occupation of the three islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates. Obsession with security is a key factor here and is justified by many elements, and it is the right of almost 50 million people (the population of the Arab Gulf states) to maintain prosperity in their countries when most Arab countries are falling apart due to religious conflicts and persistent violations of human rights, particularly as the Gulf states are one of the largest and most important economies in the world (worth around $1.60 trillion).
It is natural to have security as a popular demand that can lead to strategies to increase the strength of these countries to promote their regional and global role and policies. We need economic integration before a political union, as we cannot ignore that the fall in oil prices changed many priorities, and therefore it is natural for every state to consider its internal circumstances and arrange its positions accordingly. The GCC summit highlighted this integration and the need for it, which means that everyone has agreed to work together. The GCC summit achieved its goals considering the disturbing political and security situations faced by all Gulf states, but also sent a message to all hostile forces that the Gulf is sound, strong and secure.
By Muna Al-Fuzai