Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to Collapse?

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Photo: World Atlas
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Photo: World Atlas

The U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has apparently failed to inspire the conflicting parties to sit for dialogues in his second effort to de-escalate the Gulf tension.

“In my meetings with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I asked him to please engage in dialogue; there is not a strong indication that parties are ready to talk yet. We cannot force talks upon people who are not ready to talk,” a disappointed U.S. Secretary Tillerson told the press in Doha.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar accusing the gas-rich country of supporting terrorism.

Qatari economy was under severe threat given the blockading countries shut down their airspace, sea and land border all together for Qatar.

After Tillerson’s second effort to end the Gulf crisis was botched, Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the primary mediator between the conflicting parties, has warned the collapse of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) if the conflicts persist.

“Any escalation will bring with it an outright call for regional and international intervention, which will destroy the security of the Gulf and its people,” said Kuwait’s Emir Al Sabah.

Addressing the Kuwaiti Parliament in a statement, Mr. Sabah said, “Contrary to our wishes and hopes, the Gulf crisis has the potential of escalating; therefore, all of us must be fully aware of its potential consequences.”

He added, “Any escalation will bring with it an outright call for regional and international intervention, which will destroy the security of the Gulf and its people.”

The GCC was established in 1981 to form an alliance to foster economic, security and cultural cooperation among its sex members including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman.

The GCC’s fate was threatened after a rift destabilized the whole region on June 5 this year.

The blockade threatened Qatar’s food security. Around 40% of Qatar’s food used to get into the country through Saudi land border.

After Saudi Arabia shut down its land border with Qatar, Doha began outsourcing foods from Iran and Turkey.

The U.S. President Trump initially supported the blockading countries for severing ties with Qatar.

He later changed his tone. He urged the blockading countries to end the crisis as it hampers the U.S. interest in the Middle East.

The U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson visited gulf in July to mediate between the Gulf countries.

But Saudi led block rejected all possibilities of dialogues despite Qatar’s readiness for talks.

The blockading countries demanded Qatar to meet 13 conditions to solve the row including shutting down Doha based Al Jazeera and other Qatar sponsored media outlets.

Qatar rejected the demands and urged for unconditional dialogues to solve the dispute.

Sheikh Sabah has urged to address the issue through the lens of brotherhood. “We are not a third party in this crisis. Rather, we are a party of one with the other two brother-nations in this crisis,” Mr. Sabah added.

“History and the future generations of Arabs will not forget those who contributed to the escalation of the conflict and caused the destruction of the Gulf,” Sheikh Sabah cautioned.

Qatar responded Mr. Sabah’s statement on Tuesday. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Doha hailed the Kuwaiti emir’s appeal.

Qatar has been open to de-escalate the tension right from the beginning, though.

“In line with the approach laid down by HH the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in his address to the people of Qatar on 21 July 2017, calls upon citizens, residents, and all media in Qatar to avoid slipping into the abuse of Gulf symbols,” the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Qatar has a strong belief in the fairness of its position in this crisis and its adherence to dialogue based on mutual respect, on the basis of its principles and values,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in an exclusive interview with Reuters news agency, said: “Qatar is a very, very, very small issue.”

The Saudi unwillingness to sit for dialogues has put the future of the GCC under threat. Middle experts believe, Continuation of the rifts, as Emir Al Sabah stated, might result in the collapse of the GCC.

 


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