The Realignment of Regional Politics and the Future of the Gulf Cooperation Council

  • Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


This chapter analyses how and why the GCC developed as a regional organisation and security community in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. It explores the factors that favoured closer cooperation amongst the six ruling families in the Gulf and examines the nature of the cooperative mechanisms that gradually evolved after 1981. Progress was far from seamless or linear as tensions complicated, undermined, and in some cases held back cooperation. The chapter argues that the shock of the Arab Spring in 2011 and the differing regional responses to the upheaval not only widened these fissures in Gulf politics, but also altered the common threat perception that had at least constituted a consensual baseline in regional considerations of security, and with the recasting of the dynamics of Gulf security after the blockade of Qatar that heralded the rise of a multipolarity of participants in regional security structures that for decades had been the preserve of first the British and then the US as external guarantors of stability.

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public PolicyHoustonUSA

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