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Founded in 1981, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stands out internationally as the solution to the perpetual impasse of sustaining solidity as well as security in the Arab region. The core mission of the GCC is to establish an interrelated regional movement and inculcate a profound assimilation and unity among its members. Undeniably, the GCC has achieved remarkable steps towards integrating its members in political and socioeconomic orbs. Nonetheless, its members are still facing several security threats. These security threats do not only affect particular states, but also the entire Arabian region and world at large, with United States being the most vulnerable. The discussions on this paper underscore the potential security risks and their feasible solutions.
Security threats facing the GCC states
The impact of the security is broad. At a national level, the security threats especially in Iraq and Iran impede the citizens from enjoying their rights and exploiting the rich natural resource, viz. oil. Regionally, the instability of a particular state in the GCC is likely of spread to another state and eventually to the entire world. The disjointed nature of the terroristic assault means that any country in the region is vulnerable to attack, and thus causes threat to the entire region. Since the 9/11 in the U.S., the world has learnt that security threats facing the GCC states are also an international problem. Furthermore, an insecure GCC postulates that it would be impossible to purchase oil from the Arabian countries. The security threats facing the GCC states include terrorism, Iraq-Iran relations/influence, and the United States’ strategy in the Arab world.
The current governing authorities are concerned that the opponents of the Sunni Arab regime and exponents of al-Qaeda are one major peril to their administration. The danger was apparent in 1990s because of Osama bin Laden’s popularity coupled with the destruction of Saudi Arabian National Guard buildings (Ulrichsen 39-58). This scenario further exacerbated with terroristic assault in the city of New York and the 9/11 attack in 2001 (Thompson 28-40).
However, the terrorism problem faced by the GCC has an incoherent characteristic, viz. it can weaken in a certain area, but regenerate in a disparate region. The terroristic attack in Riyadh in 2003 indicated that the threat was both not only a global issue, but also a regional problem, which called for urgent measures to terminate the developing terroristic networks. The disjointed nature of this terrorism has also been evident in the war in Iraq (Ulrichsen 39-58). The Iraq war originated from Sunni terrorists who were derived from various states in the Arabian region. This distribution of Sunni extremists caused a series of extremist revolts throughout the Middle East (Mattair 133-140).
The growing influence of Iran in Iraq and its new government is alarming. Sunni Arabs are being discriminated whilst Iran is misusing the power it has in Iraq by controlling the Shia Arab leaders leading the new regime. Hence, most probably, the marginalised constituents may participate in dissident activities, which may eventually spread to other cities in Iran (Salisbury 32-33).
Iran’s mounting influence across the Arabian world especially in Levant coupled with the underlying conflict between Arab states and Israeli is likely to develop violent disputes among the GCC states. More alarming is Iran’s consistent possession of military weapons through conformist means and occupation of tactical areas such as Abu Musa. There has also been a belief that Iran is in communication with the Shia populace in the Middle East (Thompson 28-40). The possession of nuclear weapons is worrying because it implies that Iran will become more aggressive in the Gulf region as well other parts of the Arabian world (Cordesman 36). The most pertinent strategy to resolve the Iranian threat would be to tackle the challenges through diplomatic means instead of using force. This assertion holds because if they apply force, Iran would react by launching a violent war, which could have detrimental effects (Ehteshami 92).
The U.S. Policy in Arabian World
The GCC states have openly rued the manner in which the U.S. is solving some grave issues that might exacerbate terrorism in the region. Some Arabian states are still displeased with how the U.S. disregarded opinions of the GCC nations. The GCC asserted that its constituents would resent the United States’ idea to attack Saddam Hussein’s government (Cordesman and Al-Rodhan 54). The U.S. intrusion in Iraq caused a revolt and its departure would trigger colossal disintegration of ethnic groups. The GCC constituents are demanding the U.S. forces to slowly exit from the Middle East after restoring the Sunni Arab rights to pave way for Muslim forces. The GCC states believe that if the United States launches an attack on Iran, its impact would be felt by other nations in the Arab region. Thus, the U.S would leave the region worse than it was before (Baabood 254-282).
Conclusion and Feasible Strategies
The security threats facing the GCC states could become a reality and cause damaging results. The GCC should convince the Sunni Arab loyalists from Iraq to protect the rights of the Sunni Arabs coupled with issuing logical restraints to the Shia Arab regime. Moreover, the GCC states should enact a national oil policy that will give Sunni Arabs an equal share of the oil profits. These efforts could assist in averting the Sunni rebellion in Iraq. The U.S. should also help in resolving the dispute between Arab nations and Israel in an effort to resolve the Palestinian refugee dilemma. Such efforts could reduce Iran’s influence in the region. The U.S military existence in the Arab states should not be prolonged in a bid to avoid insurgency from the citizens.
Baabood, Abdulla. “Dynamics and Determinants of the GCC States’ Foreign Policy, with Special Reference to the EU.” Review of International Affairs 3.2 (2003): 254-282. Print.
Cordesman, Anthony, and Khalid Al-Rodhan. Gulf Military Forces in an Era of Asymmetric Wars, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007. Print.
Cordesman, Anthony. Saudi Arabia: National Security in a Troubled Region, California: ABC-CLIO, 2009. Print.
Ehteshami, Anoush. Iran and the International Community (RLE Iran A), New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.
Mattair, Thomas. “Mutual Threat Perceptions in the Arab/Persian Gulf: GCC Perceptions.” Middle East Policy 14.2 (2007): 133-140. Print.
Salisbury, Peter. “Old tensions linger.” Middle East Economic Digest 55.1 (2011): 32-33. Print.
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Thompson, Eric. “The Iraqi Military Re-enters the Gulf Security Dynamic.” Middle East Policy 16.3 (2009): 28-40. Print.
Ulrichsen, Kristian. “Internal and External Security in the Arab Gulf States.” Middle East Policy 16.2 (2009): 39-58. Print.