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The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
(Arabic: مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية‎), originally (and still colloquially) known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, مجلس التعاون الخليجي), is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq. Its member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.[2][3] The Charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council
Gulf Cooperation Council
was signed on 25 May 1981, formally establishing the institution.[4] All current member states are monarchies, including three constitutional monarchies (Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain),[5][6] two absolute monarchies ( Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and Oman), and one federal monarchy (the United Arab Emirates, which is composed of six member states, each of which is an absolute monarchy with its own emir). There have been discussions regarding the future membership of Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen.[7][8] A 2011 proposal to transform the GCC into a "Gulf Union" with tighter economic, political and military coordination has been advanced by Saudi Arabia, a move meant to counterbalance the Iranian influence in the region.[9][10] Objections have been raised against the proposal by other countries.[11][12] In 2014, Bahrain
Bahrain
prime minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa said that current events in the region highlighted the importance of the proposal.[13] In order to reduce their dependence on oil in the future, the GCC states are pursuing unprecedented structural reform initiatives.[14]

Contents

1 Founding

1.1 Objectives 1.2 Logo

2 Economy

2.1 Internal market 2.2 Monetary union 2.3 Mergers and acquisitions 2.4 Infrastructure

3 Politics and governance

3.1 Supreme council 3.2 Ministerial Council 3.3 Secretariat General 3.4 Monetary Council 3.5 Patent Office 3.6 Peninsula Shield Force 3.7 GCC Standardization Organization (GSO) 3.8 Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting
Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting
(GOIC)

4 Secretaries-General 5 Member states 6 Macro-economic trend 7 Sports 8 2014 Saudi–Qatari rift 9 2017 Rift with Qatar 10 Related states

10.1 Egypt 10.2 Iraq 10.3 Iran 10.4 Jordan
Jordan
and Morocco 10.5 Yemen

11 Related organizations 12 See also 13 References 14 External links

Founding[edit]

Heads of states of the GCC in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
on 25 May 1981.[15][16]

The original union comprised the 1,032,093-square-mile (2,673,110 km2) Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates. The unified economic agreement between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council
Gulf Cooperation Council
was signed on 11 November 1981 in Abu Dhabi. These countries are often referred to as "the GCC states". Objectives[edit] In 2001, the Supreme Council set the following goals:

Customs union
Customs union
in January 2003 Common market
Common market
by 2007 Common currency
Common currency
by 2010[17][18][19][20]

Oman
Oman
announced in December 2006 it would not be able to meet the 2010 target date for a common currency. Following the announcement that the central bank for the monetary union would be located in Riyadh
Riyadh
and not in the UAE, the UAE
UAE
announced their withdrawal from the monetary union project in May 2009. The name Khaleeji has been proposed as a name for this currency. If realised, the GCC monetary union would be the second largest supranational monetary union in the world, measured by GDP of the common-currency area.[18] Other stated objectives include:

Formulating similar regulations in various fields such as religion, finance, trade, customs, tourism, legislation, and administration Fostering scientific and technical progress in industry, mining, agriculture, water and animal resources Establishing scientific research centers Setting up joint ventures Unified military (Peninsula Shield Force) Encouraging cooperation of the private sector Strengthening ties between their people

This area has some of the fastest growing economies in the world, mostly due to a boom in oil and natural gas revenues coupled with a building and investment boom backed by decades of saved petroleum revenues. In an effort to build a tax base and economic foundation before the reserves run out, the UAE's investment arms, including Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, retain over $900 billion in assets. Other regional funds also have several hundreds of billions of dollars of assets under management. The region is also an emerging hotspot for events, including the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. Doha
Doha
also submitted an unsuccessful application for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Qatar
Qatar
was later chosen to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but it is possible that Qatar
Qatar
might lose the right to host the game because of its poor human rights record.[21] Recovery plans have been criticized for crowding out the private sector, failing to set clear priorities for growth, failing to restore weak consumer and investor confidence, and undermining long-term stability.[22] Logo[edit] The logo of the GCC consists of two concentric circles. On the upper part of the larger circle, the Bismillah phrase is written in Arabic, which means "In the name of god", and on the lower part the Council's full name, in Arabic. The inner circle contains an embossed hexagonal shape that represents the Council's six member countries. The inside of the hexagon is filled by a map encompassing the Arabian Peninsula, on which the areas of the member countries are borderless and colored in brown. On the edge of the hexagon are colors representing the flags of the six member countries. Economy[edit] Internal market[edit] A common market was launched on 1 January 2008 with plans to realise a fully integrated single market.[23] It eased the movement of goods and services. However, implementation lagged behind after the 2009 financial crisis. The creation of a customs union began in 2003 and was completed and fully operational on 1 January 2015.[24] In January 2015, the common market was also further integrated, allowing full equality among GCC citizens to work in the government and private sectors, social insurance and retirement coverage, real estate ownership, capital movement, access to education, health and other social services in all member states. However, some barriers remained in the free movement of goods and services.[25] The coordination of taxation systems, accounting standards and civil legislation is currently[when?] in progress. The interoperability of professional qualifications, insurance certificates and identity documents is also underway.[26] Monetary union[edit] In 2014, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
took major steps to ensure the creation of a single currency. Kuwait's finance minister said the four members are pushing ahead with the monetary union but said some “technical points” need to be cleared. "A common market and common central bank would also position the GCC as one entity that would have great “influence on the international financial system" he added. The implementation of a single currency and the creation of a central bank is overseen by the Monetary Council.[27] There is currently a degree to which a nominal GCC single currency already exists. Businesses trade using a basket of GCC currencies, just as before the euro was introduced, the European Currency Unit (ECU) was long used beforehand as a nominal medium of exchange.[26] Plans to introduce a single currency had been drawn up as far back as 2009, however due to the financial crisis and political differences, the UAE
UAE
and Oman
Oman
withdrew their membership.[when?] Mergers and acquisitions[edit] Companies and investors from GCC countries are active in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Since 1999, more than 5,200 transactions with a known value of US$573 billion have been announced.[28] They are not only active in national deals or within GCC, but also as important investors in cross-border M&A abroad. The investor group includes in particular a number of Sovereign Wealth Funds.[29] Infrastructure[edit] The Gulf Cooperation Council
Gulf Cooperation Council
launched common economic projects to promote and facilitate integration. The member states have cooperated in order to connect their power grids. A water connection project was launched and plans to be partly in use by 2020. A project to create common air transport was also unveiled.[30] The GCC also launched major rail projects in order to connect the peninsula. The railways are expected to fuel intra-regional trade while helping reduce fuel consumption. Over $200 billion will be invested to develop about 40,000 kilometres of rail network across the GCC, according to Oman’s Minister of Transport and Communications. The project, estimated to be worth $15.5 billion, is scheduled to be completed by 2018. “It will link the six member states as a regional transport corridor, further integrating with the national railway projects, deepening economic social and political integration, and it is developed from a sustainable perspective.” stated, Ramiz Al Assar, Resident World Bank advisor for the GCC.[31] Saudi Arabian Railways, Etihad Rail, and national governments have poured billions into railway infrastructure to create rail networks for transporting freight, connecting cities, and reducing transport times.[31] Politics and governance[edit] Supreme council[edit] The supreme council is the highest authority of the organization. It is composed of the heads of the member states. It is the highest decision-making entity of the GCC. The supreme council sets the vision and the goals of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Decisions on substantive issues require unanimous approval, while issues on procedural matters require a majority. Every member state has one vote.[32] Ministerial Council[edit] The Ministerial Council is composed of the Foreign Ministers of all the Member States. It convenes every 3 months. It primarily formulates policies and makes recommendations to promote cooperation and achieve coordination among the member states when implementing ongoing projects. Its decisions are submitted in the form of recommendations to the Supreme Council for its approval. The Ministerial Council is also responsible for preparations of meetings of the Supreme Council and its agenda. The voting procedure in the Ministerial Council is the same as in the Supreme Council.[32] Secretariat General[edit] The Secretariat is the executive arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It takes decisions within its authority and implements decisions approved by the Supreme or Ministerial Council. The Secretariat also compiles studies relating to cooperation, coordination, and planning for common action. It prepares periodical reports regarding the work done by the GCC as a whole and regarding the implementation of its own decisions.[32] Monetary Council[edit] On 15 December 2009, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia announced the creation of a Monetary Council to introduce a single currency for the union. The board of the council, which set a timetable and action plan for establishing a central bank and choose a currency regime, met for the first time on 30 March 2010. Kuwaiti foreign minister Mohammad Sabah Al-Sabah said on 8 December 2009 that a single currency may take up to ten years to establish. The original target was in 2010. Oman
Oman
and the UAE
UAE
later announced their withdrawal of the proposed currency. In 2014, major moves were taken to ensure the launch of a single currency. Kuwait's finance minister stated that a currency should be implemented without delay. Negotiations with the UAE
UAE
and Oman
Oman
to expand the monetary union were renewed.[27] Patent Office[edit] Main article: GCC Patent Office The GCC Patent Office was approved in 1992 and established soon after in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[33] Applications are filed and prosecuted in the Arabic language
Arabic language
before the GCC Patent Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which is a separate office from the Saudi Arabian Patent Office. Peninsula Shield Force[edit] Main article: Peninsula Shield Force Amidst the Bahraini uprising, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and the UAE
UAE
sent ground troops to Bahrain
Bahrain
in order to protect vital infrastructure such as the airport and highway system.[9][34][35][36] Kuwait
Kuwait
and Oman
Oman
refrained from sending troops.[9][37] Instead, Kuwait
Kuwait
sent a navy unit.[38] In September 2014 GCC members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and Qatar, plus pending member Jordan, commenced air operations against ISIL
ISIL
in Syria.[39] Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and the UAE
UAE
however are among the nations that oppose the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
in Syria, whereas Qatar
Qatar
has historically supported it. They also pledged other support including operating training facilities for Syrian rebels (Saudi Arabia)[40] and allowing the use of their airbases by other countries fighting ISIL. GCC Standardization Organization (GSO)[edit] Main article: GCC Standardization Organization This is the standardization organization of the GCC, and Yemen
Yemen
also belongs to this organization.[41] Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting
Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting
(GOIC)[edit] Main article: Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting The Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting
Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting
(GOIC) was founded in 1976 by the Gulf Cooperation Council
Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC) member states: The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar
Qatar
and Kuwait, and in 2009, Yemen
Yemen
joined the Organization, which is headquartered at Doha, Qatar. The organization chart of GOIC includes the Board members and the General Secretariat. The Board is formed by member state representatives appointed by their governments.[42] Secretaries-General[edit]

Tenure Name Country

26 May 1981 – April 1993 Abdullah Bishara[43] Kuwait

April 1993 – April 1996 Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi[44] United Arab Emirates

April 1996 – 31 March 2002 Jamil Ibrahim Hejailan[45] Saudi Arabia

1 April 2002 – 31 March 2011 Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Attiyah[46] Qatar

1 April 2011 – present Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani Bahrain

Member states[edit] There are six member states of the union:

Flag Common name Official name Type of government

in English in romanized Arabic

Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn Constitutional monarchy

Kuwait State of Kuwait Dawlat al-Kuwayt Parliamentary system, Constitutional monarchy

Oman Sultanate of Oman Saltanat Eamman Absolute monarchy

Qatar State of Qatar Dawlat Qaṭar Absolute monarchy

Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Al-Mamlaka al-ʻArabiyya as-Suʻūdiyya Absolute monarchy

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates Al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah Federal monarchy,a Absolute monarchy

a Elective by monarchs de jure, hereditary de facto.

Macro-economic trend[edit]

Year

GDP (millions)

GDP per capita (as % of USA's GDP per capita)

1980 $250,675 152.00

1985 $183,069 60.19

1990 $207,735 41.28

1995 $261,072 37.10

2000 $375,483 36.26

2005 $664,582 45.19

2010 $1,084,647 56.56

Sports[edit] The union has served as a grouping for sports co-operation and competition. The GCC states have an annual Meeting of the Youth and Sports ministers to boost youth and sports initiatives in the region; in 2015, this gathering was held for the 29th time.[47] The promotion of the hosting of international sports events has also served an economic purpose for the union's countries, leading to investment and development in the region.[48] The GCC Games, a quadrennial multi-sport event, was established by the union and first held in 2011.[49] There are numerous long-running GCC Championships for individual sports, including: the Gulf Cooperation Council Athletics Championships (first held in 1986; youth section from 2000)[50] sailing,[51] basketball,[52] swimming,[53] tennis,[54] gymnastics (senior and youth levels),[55][56] weightlifting,[57] futsal,[58] snooker,[59] and table tennis.[60] 2014 Saudi–Qatari rift[edit] Main article: Saudi Arabia- Qatar
Qatar
relations Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
across the MENA area, Hamas and radical Islamists in Libya has led to increasing tensions with other Arab states of the Persian Gulf.[61][62][63] These tensions came to a head during a March 2014 meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, after which the UAE, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and Bahrain
Bahrain
announced the recall of their ambassadors to Qatar.[64][65][66][67] Some financial economists have interpreted the 2014 Saudi–Qatari rift as the tangible political sign of a growing economic rivalry between oil and natural gas producers, which could "have deep and long-lasting consequences" beyond the MENA area.[68] 2017 Rift with Qatar[edit] Main article: 2017 Qatar
Qatar
diplomatic crisis On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain
Bahrain
and Egypt
Egypt
had officially cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.[69] Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
said it took the decision to cut diplomatic ties due to Qatar’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region”, including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant and groups supported by Iran
Iran
in the kingdom’s eastern province of Qatif.[70] Islam Hassan argues "Starting from 2000 and ahead, Qatar
Qatar
has been pursuing an independent foreign policy that at times clash with the Saudi strategic interests in the region. The fact that Qatar
Qatar
has not been toeing the Saudi foreign policy, and dealing with states and non-state actors that the Saudis do not approve of have caused this tension in relations over the past couple of years, mainly after the Arab uprisings. This tension was revived by the hacking saga of Qatar
Qatar
News Agency and the statement that was attributed to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, which Qatar
Qatar
falsified later. This happened at a time Mohamed bin Salman is facing competition from Mohamed bin Nayef over the Saudi throne. Mohamed bin Salman tried to have the US blessing during Trump's visit to Saudi to force Qatar
Qatar
to its knees and go back home with a win that would give him more popularity in Saudi Arabia, easing his journey to power. With regards to UAE, there has been always competition between al-Nahyans of Abu Dhabi and al-Thanis of Qatar. This competition goes back to the 1800s. The Arab uprisings ushered a new chapter in the Qatari-Emirati competition. The competition led to the Emiratis playing a major role in the withdrawal of ambassadors from Qatar
Qatar
in 2014. At the beginning of the current diplomatic crisis, particularly after the hacking saga, UAE
UAE
was trying to maintain the problem. Yet, Aljazeera's publishing of Yousuf al-Otaiba's leaked emails got the UAE
UAE
on board with Saudi Arabia. Insofar as Bahrain
Bahrain
is concerned, the small Kingdom has been toeing the Saudi foreign policy for the past couple of years. It seems that their severing of ties with Qatar
Qatar
was mainly an answer to a Saudi call."[71][72][73] In June, various members put a ban on Qataris and their businesses. Qataris are not allowed to enter or live in the country unless they have a spouse living there or they need to carry a visa in order to enter these countries. Flights from Qatar
Qatar
are also not allowed to land there and vice versa.[74] Related states[edit]

Arabs States cooperation

Since the creation of the council in 1981 its membership has not expanded, with all members being Arab monarchies.[75] Some GCC countries have land borders with Iraq, Jordan
Jordan
and Yemen, and sea borders with Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea
Eritrea
and Somalia. Egypt[edit] Only Sinai peninsula
Sinai peninsula
lies in the Arabian peninsula, Bahrain
Bahrain
has been vocal about its stance on Egypt
Egypt
joining the GCC, in 2011, Bahraini Foreign Minister has called for Egypt
Egypt
to be admitted as a member of the GCC.[76] Iraq[edit] Iraq
Iraq
is the only Arab country bordering the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
that is not a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In 2012, Iraqi Defence Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi
Saadoun al-Dulaimi
stated that Iraq
Iraq
wants to join the GCC.[77] Kuwait
Kuwait
supports Iraq
Iraq
joining the GCC.[78] The lack of membership of Iraq
Iraq
is widely believed to be due to the low-income economy, its substantial Shia population, its republican political system, and its invasion of member state Kuwait
Kuwait
during the Gulf War.[citation needed] Iran[edit] At the December 2012 Manama summit, the GCC states called for an end to Iranian interference in their internal affairs.[79] Jordan
Jordan
and Morocco[edit] In May 2011, Jordan's request to join the GCC, which had been first submitted 15 years earlier, was accepted and Morocco
Morocco
was invited to join the union.[80][81][82] In September 2011 a five-year economic plan for both countries was put forward after a meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries and those of the GCC States, the first GCC meeting since May which included the Jordanian and Moroccan ministers. Although a plan for accession was being looked into, it was noted that there was no timetable for either's accession, and that discussions would continue.[75] As Jordan
Jordan
and Morocco
Morocco
are the only two Arab monarchies not currently in the council, the current members see them as strong potential allies. Jordan
Jordan
borders member Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and is economically connected to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
States. Although Morocco
Morocco
is not near the Persian Gulf, the Moroccan foreign minister Taieb Fassi Fihri
Taieb Fassi Fihri
notes that "geographical distance is no obstacle to a strong relationship".[75] Yemen[edit] Yemen
Yemen
was in negotiations for GCC membership, and hoped to join by 2015. Although it has no coastline on the Persian Gulf, Yemen
Yemen
lies in the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
and shares a common culture and history with other members of the GCC.[8] The GCC has already approved Yemen's accession to the GCC Standardization Authority, Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC),[83] GCC Auditing and Accounting Authority, Gulf Radio and TV Authority, GCC Council of Health Ministers, GCC Education and Training Bureau, GCC Council of Labour and Social Affairs Ministers, and Gulf Cup Football Tournament. The Council issued directives that all the necessary legal measures be taken so that Yemen
Yemen
would have the same rights and obligations of GCC member states in those institutions.[84] In May 2017, the Gulf Cooperation Council
Gulf Cooperation Council
rejected the formation of a transitional political council in southern Yemen, which called for the separation of Southern Yemen, siding with Yemen
Yemen
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in doing so.[85] Related organizations[edit]

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The GCC members and Yemen
Yemen
are also members of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA). However, this is unlikely to affect the agenda of the GCC significantly as it has a more aggressive timetable than GAFTA and is seeking greater integration. See also[edit]

Middle East portal Politics portal

Arab Cooperation Council Peninsula Shield Force Arab states of the Persian Gulf Arab League– Iran
Iran
relations 2017 Qatar
Qatar
diplomatic crisis U.S.–Middle East Free Trade Area
U.S.–Middle East Free Trade Area
(US-MEFTA) Euro-Mediterranean free trade area (EU-MEFTA) Council of Arab Economic Unity
Council of Arab Economic Unity
(CAEU) Khaleeji, the Council's proposed currency Gulf Railway Middle East economic integration Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting
Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting
(GOIC) Levant Quartet

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