GCC and Distant Kingdoms: from Promised Membership to Strategic Partnership to LOL……..

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The GCC leaders have apparently kissed (literally) and made out up. Qatar and its Saudi and Emirati (UAE) unbrotherly sisters have decided to sweep some of their serious foreign policy differences under the rug, for the time being.

On a less serious note: there are reports that the next GCC summit in December (Doha, Qatar) will discuss something they now call “strategic partnership” with the kingdoms of Jordan and Morocco. Apparently the summit will finally be held in Qatar, as originally scheduled. That is the plan for now, until the Saudi princes and Abu Dhabi shaikhs decide otherwise in a new fit of tantrums against the brotherly Al Thani.

Remember when the Saudi king surprised everyone by inviting Jordan and Morocco to “join” the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 2011? That also surprised other GCC leaders who started wondering privately what the king had been smoking. But they went along with the idea anyway, perhaps knowing that, as I opined later, it was D.O.A. I opined succinctly at the time that “it ain’t gonna happen“, which almost certainly is what all the other potentates thought, although they would not express it so eloquently.

Later I wrote that they will find some limited alternative to membership for these two relatively faraway countries. And voila! But I will tell you there will be no real ‘strategic partnership’ as such either. There will be some mechanism to increase GCC aid to humorless Jordan and mellow Morocco, and perhaps some increased cooperation in “security” matters. Jordan already cooperates quite extensively in “security” and matters of repression, sending thousand of mercenaries and goons and “humorless interrogators” to Bahrain and the UAE.

As for Morocco, it is the last remaining Arab monarchy west of Jordan. It has become the favorite hangout (outside Europe) and hunting ground (you interpret that) for Saudi princes and other Gulf potentates. But it does not follow the Saudi and UAE absolute tribal family model: it has elections. Which may complicate any ‘partnership’ with these families.

So, what the summit will do is to authorize the GCC bureaucracy to ‘study’ this idea of a ‘strategic partnership’ that has been borrowed from the West. It does sound impressive and thoughtful, and that is probably about it in this case. Then they will form a committee of ‘experts’……………..
Then it might be just more LOL……….

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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