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Are You Ready for the New GCC?

Are You Ready for the New GCC?

The big question in power circles in the region is whether the GCC would allow full membership to Jordan and Morocco or something similar to Yemen’s limited observer status.

June 29, 2011 5:15 by



The announcement of the potential induction of Jordan and Morocco in the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council on May 10 came as a big surprise for political pundits in the region. Jordan and Morocco presented their bids, which were welcomed by the GCC members. The body’s secretary-general Abdullatif Al Zayani said in Riyadh, “Leaders of the GCC welcomed the request of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to join the council and instructed the foreign minister to enter into negotiations to complete the procedures.” He said the same procedure would be followed with Morocco.

The big question that is being asked in power circles in the region is whether the GCC would allow full membership to Jordan and Morocco or something similar to Yemen’s limited observer status. Director of International studies at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai, Christian Koch, said, “The announcement looks to me more like an ad-hoc reaction rather than the result of deliberate policy- making. The inclusion of Jordan or Morocco into the GCC would change the nature of the organization, it would bring in new problem areas such as the Western Sahara conflict and the Arab- Israeli conflict in addition to currently unresolved issues, and it would not add much economically for the existing member states. In addition, the process of membership accession is not defined and I am not sure how the accession would be managed or based on what criteria.”

An academician associated with a UAE university said that due diligence should have been done before announcing the move as it looks like that there was an urgent need to send a message to a country in this region. The professor, who is an Arab expatriate, requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. “I see this as a political move, but in my view it might end up in trade agreements and easing of tariffs etc, which would help Jordan and Morocco to increase their trade with the current six-member group,” he said.

Dr Koch said, “There is definitely a political signal component here by trying to display a common front among the eight nations when it comes to handling the repercussions of the so-called ‘Arab T he announcement of the potential induction of Jordan and Morocco in the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council on May 10 came as a big surprise for political pundits in the region. Jordan and Morocco presented their bids, which were welcomed by the GCC members. The body’s secretary-general Abdullatif Al Zayani said in Riyadh, “Leaders of the GCC welcomed the request of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to join the council and instructed the foreign minister to enter into negotiations to complete the procedures.” He said the same procedure would be followed with Morocco.

The big question that is being asked in power circles in the region is whether the GCC would allow full membership to Jordan and Morocco or something similar to Yemen’s limited observer status. Director of International studies at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai, Christian Koch, said, “The announcement looks to me more like an ad-hoc reaction rather than the result of deliberate policy- making. The inclusion of Jordan or Morocco into the GCC would change the nature of the organization, it would bring in new problem areas such as the Western Sahara conflict and the Arab- Israeli conflict in addition to currently unresolved issues, and it would not add much economically for the existing member states. In addition, the process of membership accession is not defined and I am not sure how the accession would be managed or based on what criteria.”

An academician associated with a UAE university said that due diligence should have been done before announcing the move as it looks like that there was an urgent need to send a message to a country in this region. The professor, who is an Arab expatriate, requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. “I see this as a political move, but in my view it might end up in trade agreements and easing of tariffs etc, which would help Jordan and Morocco to increase their trade with the current six-member group,” he said.

Dr Koch said, “There is definitely a political signal component here by trying to display a common front among the eight nations when it comes to handling the repercussions of the so-called ‘Arab Spring” and portraying a united front against Iran. There is a conviction among the respective leaderships that the monarchies are the best placed form of government to implement gradual political form rather than the disruptive regime change seen in Tunisia and Egypt. In addition, it is a warning to Iran to not meddle in the domestic affairs of the region.”



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