First Published: 2017-12-11

GCC at a critical juncture
The unprecedented brevity of the summit and the low level of representation demonstrated the extent the Qatari crisis had put a damper on expectations from the gathering.
Middle East Online

A general view for the GCC leaders meeting in Kuwait City

The 38th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit highlighted the limits of this regional grouping but the announcement the same day of a new UAE-Saudi cooperation and coordination mechanism pointed to new possibilities in regional collaboration.

The unprecedented brevity of the GCC summit and the low level of representation at the December 5 gathering in Kuwait City demonstrated the extent to which the Qatari crisis had put a damper on expectations from the gathering.

Dohas unwillingness to seriously address grievances of the Saudi-led Arab boycott did not leave much room for hope of tangible results from the summit. The meeting, which went on without the participation of the Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini heads of state, nonetheless would have the credit of formally preserving the existence of the GCC as a functioning entity.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the key countries in the regional grouping, seemed, however, convinced of the pressing need for a more efficient approach in the face of regional challenges, not the least of which is Irans pursuit of hostile designs as illustrated by its support for its Houthi proxies in Yemen.

It came, therefore, as no surprise that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi announced a joint coordination and cooperation committee that would bolster and coordinate relations between the two countries in the military, political, economic, commercial and cultural and other fields dictated by the interests of the two countries.

The new Saudi-UAE committee is bound to be seen as an alternative, if not substitute, to the malfunctioning GCC, wrote Patrick Wintour, diplomatic editor of the Guardian.

The strategic vision behind the UAE-Saudi initiative reflects a keen awareness of the serious challenges facing the Gulf region. It also indicates the political will to urgently address such challenges.

This article was originally published in The Arab Weekly.

 

Syrian rebels agree to leave new area outside Damascus

Family accuses Israel of killing Palestinian in Malaysia

Rouhani slams officials' 'vow of silence' in face of protests

US has 'concerns' about Turkey holding fair vote under state of emergency

Cinema makes return to Saudi Arabia

UN Security Council meets over Syria in Sweden

Turkish government rejects criticism of election campaign

Condemnation after Gaza teenager killed by Israeli soldiers

Natalie Portman says backed out of Israel prize over Netanyahu

Morocco, EU start talks on new fisheries deal

FIFA to return to Morocco to check hotels, stadiums

Turkey in shock after violent Istanbul derby

Iraq pays first war reparations to Kuwait since 2014

Fiery kites adopted as new tactic by Gaza protesters

Romanian president slams plan to move Israel embassy

Western strikes on Syria bring no change whatsoever

Trump criticises OPEC for high oil prices

Syria says rebels south of capital surrender

Market has capacity to absorb higher oil prices: Saudi minister

Putin 'ready' for Trump summit

Saudi Arabia to host first public film screening

HRW criticises Lebanon for evicting Syria refugees

Saudi says intercepted ballistic missile from Yemen

Russia mulls supplying S-300 missile systems to Syria

Bashir fires Sudan foreign minister

Washington: Assad still has 'limited' chemical capability

European MPs urge US not to scrap Iran deal

Oil price soars to highest level in years

Two more pro-Kurdish MPs stripped of Turkey seats

Oil theft 'costing Libya over $750 million annually'

Turkey's snap polls: bold gambit or checkmate for Erdogan?

Iran arrests senior official over public concert

Bahrain sentences 24 to jail, strips citizenship

UN experts urge Iran to cancel Kurd's death sentence

Moderate quake strikes near Iran nuclear power plant

Syria regime forces caught in surprise IS attack

Turkey sentences 18 to life for killing ‘hero’ coup soldier

Exxon faces setback in Iraq as oil and water mix

Libya to clamp down on fuel smuggling

Yemen to arrest colonel for overlooking African migrant rape

Erdogan sends Turkey to snap polls on June 24

Qatar joins Gulf military exercise in apparent compromise

Saudi-Russia oil alliance likely to undercut OPEC

UN in security talks with Syria on chemical probe

Riyadh says two al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen