Gulf Political Union – Gause Talks with “Iran Primer”

May 2, 2012

This month the leadership of the Gulf Cooperation Council will consider the question of a federation among the six Arab Gulf states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They will take up recommendations of a special commission established by the December 2011 GCC Summit in Riyadh. This week SUSRIS provided remarks [“Toward a Union Formula – Prince Saud Al Faisal”] by Prince Saud Al Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, on the question of a Gulf union. He made his remarks to the Conference of Gulf Youth through a deputy and said:

“..our conference is held at a time when most of the attention of the leaders, and decision-makers, and thinkers is to look after how to face current challenges and developments at political, social, economic arenas, and their effects on our countries and peoples. The escalation of confrontation between Iran and the international community over its nuclear program, its constant provocation of GCC countries in particular, continued sufferings of the Palestinian people, and the implications of what is happing in a number of countries in the region of wide political changes in the context of what has become known as the ‘Arab spring’, all these developments require us to pause for reflection and a strong will to deal with them in the interest of GCC states, the unity of their territories, territorial integrity, civil peace, stability and growth.”

“..In the midst of what is surrounding GCC States of the developments, changes and threats to their stability, security and achievements, Saudi Arabia recognized the importance of the transition from one formula of cooperation to the Union formula.”

Yesterday the U.S. Institute of Peace published an interview with Professor F. Gregory Gause, chair of the University of Vermonth’s political science department and regular contributor to SUSRIS.com, on the issue of a Gulf political union as a vehicle to “handle” Iran and the Arab spring. We commend his insightful interview with Caroline Crouch to your attention and provide an excerpt here for your consideration.

[Iran Primer] “What would a political union or federation look like? Is there a model elsewhere in the world? Is this potentially an equivalent of the European Union? How might a Gulf union differ from other regional alliances, such as the Arab League and OPEC?”

[Gause] “It would differ from the Arab League in that there would be fewer members and thus it would be easier to reach unanimity and take actions. It would be different from OPEC in that it would tackle a range of issues, and not be concentrated on just one. I think that the supporters of the notion really do have the EU in mind as a model of economic and political integration, but I doubt that the political circumstances are such that any of the smaller state governments except Bahrain would be willing to submerge their sovereign powers to Saudi Arabia, which is what, in effect, such a union would be. Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE do not need Saudi money and do not need Saudi security forces.”

The complete interview with Professor Gause is on the USIP web site at: http://bit.ly/JHqQDX

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