The Future of the GCC Amid the Gulf Divide
This chapter looks at the role of the Gulf Cooperation Council as an intergovernmental organization, conceived and designed at a time when Saudi regional hegemony had to be protected against Iranian expansionism. Today, Baabood asserts, while external security concerns about Iran’s covert operations in the region still feature widely in the security rhetoric of the Gulf States, the domestic security dimension relating to potential dissidence and violent non-state actors allegedly can no longer be served collectively by the GCC; the reason being that the organization has never been greater than the sum of its parts. Each member state appears to take a different approach to liberalization, political opposition and the activities of non-state actors. The fact that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have ignored the organizational mechanisms for conflict resolution to deal with their grievances over Qatar’s policies shows that the trust in the organization appears to have vanished. The other small states of Kuwait and Oman have looked in distress at the actions taken against Qatar by one group of member states against another member state fearing that GCC membership might not shield them from the bullying of its bigger neighbours.