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Essay on gulf cooperation council GCC

  • The gulf cooperation council GCC was formed in 1981 in the spirit of unity among countries of similar beliefs and cultural values. The six countries that form the GCC are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. GCC is one of the major economies in the Middle East ranking 17th in the global economy, encouraging economic groups (e.g., EU) and individual countries to form alliances with it.

Essay on gulf cooperation council GCC

  • GCC states have different perceptions of external threats individually, Saudi Arabia governs with religion and politics intertwined and sees American pressure to carry out political and economic reform as a major threat, Kuwait sees Iraq as a major threat mostly has become an obsession, Qatar acting as a dispute between modernism and traditionalism on its own, Oman perceives no one as a major threat because of continuous working on policies to be balanced.

Essay on gulf cooperation council GCC

  • Internal threats include economic difficulties due to combination of lowered oil prices, lavish and irrational government spending, unsound economic arrangements, growing debts and high rates of foreign employment. Social problems such as escalating crime and terrorism due to growing unemployment and political consequences such as discontent public, more participators in politics, and more drastic reform pressures and many internal threats aside of individual threats the countries face.

Essay on gulf cooperation council GCC

  • One of the foremost rivalries in the middle eastern region is between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In the 1970s, both were high valued cronies of the United States and were amongst the five founding members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries (OPEC) established in 1960. Discrepancy between the two countries began over the decision whether to increase oil prices or not during 1979. Moreover, Saudi Arabia support for saddam Hussein, iran-iraq war, accusations of Iranian involvement did nothing to reduce the tension. Recently the execution of Shiite preacher Nimr-al-nimr sparked hostilities again which led to end of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Essay on gulf cooperation council GCC
  • In July 2015 hostilities resurfaced because of the nuclear deal of p5+1 with Iran which was loudly criticized by Saudi Arabia because of the possible outcomes Saudi feared could affect its strategic relations with the US.
Essay on gulf cooperation council GCC
  • The main reason however was related to the economic penalty for Saudi and other gulf countries at the expense of Iran’s reentry into the oil market because until 2012 iran was second largest producer in the OPEC just behind the leader Saudi Arabia until sanctions were imposed. Several factors played a vital role in historical deterioration of relations between the two regional powers.

Essay on gulf cooperation council GCC

  • On 16 January 2016 the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Iran’s completion of the preparatory steps of the nuclear deal. This so-called Implementation Day was followed by the liftingof EU, US, and UN sanctions, specifically those banning private investments and restricting oil exports. Iran announced its intention to “hike sales by 500,000 barrels the day after sanctions are lifted and increase total exports to around 2.5 million barrels [per day] within 2016.” Subsequently, as Saudi Arabia had feared, oil prices fell to $28 a barrel. While oil prices had already been low due to flooded markets and Chinese economic problems, this nadir has not been seen since 2003.Analysts say that it could take more time to feel the full effects of Iran’s return to the oil market. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia —especially its people— is already afflicted by the price drop. As the government faces budget deficits, social programmes and perks, such as scholarships, are being (pre-emptively) downsized or eliminated.Oil prices have been hovering around $31-33 a barrel since 1 March 2016. While still far from the 2015 highest selling price of $62 a barrel in May, the dramatic consequences to the nuclear deal as expected by Saudi Arabia have not yet materialized, months after Iran reestablished a full presence in the market. Iran has not “flooded the market,” selling only about 4 million barrels to Europe from mid-January to mid-March 2016. Though there seem to be legal complications, the lack of buyers flocking to Iran to buy oil is due mainly to its inflexibility in terms and pricing.
  • Even so, Saudi Arabia felt it necessary to take steps to further slow Iran’s oil exports. Iranian oil vessels are reportedly not allowedto enter ports through Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. Saudi Arabia has not officially given notice of this ban, but Iran has blamed part of its difficulty selling oil on this message being spread by ship brokers and traders. As a result, the tensions reach further than the oil or economic sphere, and become geographical.More importantly, the friction between the two countries influences their foreign policies. Religion alone is not to blame for the troubled relationship between the two regional powers, but Shiite Iran and Sunni (Wahhabi) Saudi Arabia do have fundamental differences on religion, which trickle down to their regional policies and choice of allies. This does not mean that religion plays no role in the countries’ relationship and actions, as demonstrated by the execution of Nimr al-Nimr in January 2016.Iran’s support for the Sunni Palestinian organization Hamas proves that the main driver behind Iran’s choice of allies is not religion alone. Intensified involvements in conflicts such as Syria have been increasingly strategic. In Saudi Arabia’s case, support for Syrian rebels is driven by its wish to rob Iran of one of its few Arab allies.
  • Over the years proxy wars had been the main area of conflict for the countries to confront each other which barely affected them but following the recent lifting of sanctions on Iran, a compromise is felt by both nations and their populations because it is the only solution to prevent further drop in oil prices pushing through the OUTPUT FREEZE for Saudi Arabia and Iran to see eye to eye.
  • Attempts were made to resolve the tension between the countries which was promising but short lived both Iran and Saudi Arabia have found sectarian partners to be more effective tools for extrapolative power across the region. Armed proxy conflict in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon and political uprisings in Egypt and Bahrain are known to have Saudi and Iranian political and material support.


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