This week saw the Gulf Cooperation Council (the GCC) take major security and political steps together.
Strategically they came together in Qatar to present Arab unity against the threats and challenges they face together.
First they have decided to put a “family quarrel” aside and moved on to create greater security coordination between each nation.
Second, they have realized they need to fully take ownership of the problems they face together. The United States will remain a strong partner for GCC countries, but it has realized through the conflicts in the region, that its “boots-on-the-ground” and forward leading positions may not actually be helpful in the strategic context. Arab countries need to be in the lead.
GCC nations face the threat of ISIL and what seems ever-growing fanaticism across the region that is creating terror and destruction, that if not checked and defeated will create mass chaos and destabilization.
Also, the GCC face challenges from regional neighbors, that a coordinated response could help mitigate and create a wider balance in the Middle East.
Over the last year I have written and spoke on these key issues and other related topics.
I was glad to see that the GCC took steps to create what I suggest is an Arab NATO – for Arabs to take leadership and ownership in their own security.
First the GCC created GCC_POL, a GCC wide police force and second they created a joint naval force.
These are both welcome initiatives. They should now be built on to go further, with greater Army and Airforce cooperation, and also be matched with a wider economic regulation program for the whole region. Including Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco in this effort will give it the manpower it needs.