It seems that it is the destiny of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to live under the mercy of large neighboring countries—at times Iran, and at times Iraq. Once Iraq became no longer a source of threat, Iran’s relationship with the GCC—since late 1979 to 2012—is between ebb and flow; at times reaching out for peaceful coexistence, and at times raising the voice of threats and warnings.
If Iran’s revolutionary beginning was confined to internal reforms, the GCC would never have existed, which was formed following the Iranian threat of spreading its revolution to neighboring countries…as a result, the GCC was formed in 1981 as a collaborative security effort to combat the attempt of spreading the revolution—which at the time was at the apex for its strength and had frightening momentum—with the help of the West. Perhaps the Iraqi-Iranian war—which preoccupied Iran with its issues with Iraq—reinforced the establishment of the council as well.
The negative influence of the war reached all GCC countries, which increased their adherence to the council with the great support of the United States…there was nothing that kept that GCC from expanding its goals to the economic, social, and educational fields, amongst others, so that it would not be perceived strictly as a security council—which is the reality of the GCC.
Iran played a primary role in spreading its revolution idea its early years. In fact, the GCC countries’ call for Jordan and Morocco—both Arab and monarchists—to join the council, was meant as a means to reinforce the council’s efforts in preventing the possible Iranian danger that could befall the Gulf countries at any time.
Whoever takes a closer look at the new GCC setup, which is in the process of its activation, will realize that it does not suit Iranian interests. In fact, it is against Iran and its policies; neither Morocco nor Jordan are in a harmonious relationship with Iran. Therefore, Iran became the reason for expanding the GCC without being able to become a part of it.
Today, and since the rise of 2012, Iran has been a source of threat for the East and the West alike, where a few days ago, it threatened to block traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, which is a vital non-Arab oil route to the West, and any disruption therein will bring about a great global economic crisis that the world cannot bear under the current circumstances.
As Western forces drew closer to the area, in an attempt to intimidate Iran, Tehran began to directly threaten the GCC countries of providing the world with its oil instead of Iranian oil.
GCC countries are in an unenviable state, because either way they remain threatened by Iran; both at times of peace and at times of conflict. At times of peace, Iran will reactivate its plan to spread its Shiite revolution in order to draw attention away from its internal affairs; a plan which poses a threat to the Sunni GCC countries. And during the times of conflict, and its ominous conflicts with the West, Iran will not hesitate to threaten its targets; and the GCC is that target. In this case, what is the solution with this great neighbor that has become a constant source of instability and threats, instead of becoming a source of security?
It seems that Iran is undergoing a serious crisis, especially now that the West realized that Iran has escalated too far and must be stopped. Iran’s expansion in its nuclear activities terrifies the West and the East alike, and its propaganda of such activities is what contributed to this crisis.
In addition to that, Iran was able to expand itself geographically, granting it the ability to control the affairs of several key countries in the area, such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.
All these aspects led the West and the majority of the world to impose economic sanctions on Iran in an attempt force Tehran back to the negotiation table.
For decades, GCC countries have been taking Iranian threats very seriously, to the point where Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal stated on December 2004 that the formation of a new regional security system needs four essential pillars, which are: “a strong and effective GCC including economically, politically, and militarily stable members; the incorporation of Yemen in the GCC, a stable and unified Iraq, and the participation of Iran in the GCC.”
Years have passed since this statement, and none of these pillars were accomplished, except the partial and inactive incorporation of Yemen in the council; Iraq remains instable, the Gulf countries themselves remain incomplete politically, economically, and militarily; and Iran did not participate in the GCC nor did let it carryon in peace…situations are getting worse day by day.
Today, the Gulf is an area that the GCC alone is unable to maintain its stability and security. And because the Gulf has become a great source of influence internationally, any danger threatening the area will also threaten the stability of these international forces. Therefore, there is not the least bit of doubt that the US and the West will play an effective role in maintaining the stability of the Gulf and protect it from any dangers threatening its stability; dangers posed mainly by Iran.
And until Iran becomes a country which preoccupies itself with its internal affairs and refrains from posing threats to other countries, Iraq becomes unified, democratic, and stable; Yemen becomes developed and effective, and the GCC becomes complete, the security of the Gulf will remain an international responsibility carried by the US and its allies.
The joining of Jordan and Morocco to the GCC is for no reason other than for effective support of the security and stability of the Gulf, and the same can be said of the increased Turkish role in the region. That being said, these are the indications looming over the horizons of the Gulf, and things go on.