GCC’s Defense Cooperation: Moving towards Unity
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For more than 30 years, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has attempted to establish a collective defense regime to protect its six members: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This ambition was expressed through a number of initiatives, beginning with the foundation of the Peninsula Shield force in 1982 and culminating in the establishment of a Unified Military Command in 2013. This latter decision represents an important reform and could be considered a crucial step in the evolution of the GCC towards deep regional integration, especially on the military side. A Unified Military Command can benefit from the various weapons systems in the Gulf, and create a new generation of Gulf officers, who take advantage of the broad similarities of the military systems and experiences of the GCC countries. In the light of the historical background of the GCC’s defense cooperation, this article aims to analyze the strategic opportunities that could be generated by the foundation of the unified military command and to explain the political challenges that could hamper the GCC countries’ attempt to evolve towards a real military alliance.
- International Affairs [17 items ]