Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Gulf States: A History of Cooperation to Counter Threats

Gulf States: A History of Cooperation to Counter Threats

Tuesday, 5 January, 2021 - 09:30
Gulf leaders during a summit in Riyadh in 1981. Asharq Al-Awsat

Since the 1960s, the Gulf region has witnessed many transformations, starting with the independence of Gulf countries and the emergence of the so-called Iranian Revolution in 1979 that gave birth to terrorist groups and caused instability, which in turn led to Gulf unity to face threats and challenges.

As Tehran maintains its hostile policy towards the countries of the region and through its proxies, the importance of strengthening Gulf cooperation increases.

Today, Saudi Arabia welcomes the leaders of the Gulf countries, who will participate in the 41st session of the GCC Supreme Council.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Abdullah Bishara, the first GCC Secretary General (1981-1993), emphasized the importance of unity among the six Gulf States.

He noted that the rift within the GCC has benefited “other sides”, stressing the importance of overcoming the current situation to ensure security and stability and consolidate interdependence among the Gulf populations.

According to Bishara, it is imperative to develop the Council’s mechanism and to review the crisis-resolution process to overcome internal disputes, taking into consideration national and regional interests.

Since the early 1960s, the region has witnessed several transformations that changed its features. Five Gulf countries announced their independence, the Iranian revolution emerged and the Iraq-Iran war began in September 1980 and continued until 1988.

This was followed by the second Gulf War to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi occupation in 1990-1991 and the successive threats and crises that continue to this day, which are mainly caused by the Iranian policy and Brotherhood slogans.

All these regional threats take us back to the date of the establishment of the GCC at the initiative of Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad, then-Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Kuwait.

After the Iranian revolution and the Iran-Iraq war, a meeting was held in Saudi Arabia at the end of 1980 to seriously discuss the establishment of a Gulf body that brings together six countries, which include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

In 1981, the GCC was established to achieve unity among the member states and promote political, military, economic and media cooperation.

The Council contributed to strengthening economic cooperation among its member-states and protecting and liberating Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion, in addition to its role in standing with Bahrain through the Peninsula Shield Forces and preventing Iranian interference.

Editor Picks