GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative as an Element of the Security Architecture of the Gulf Sub-Region
Paper Proposal Text :
NATO is the longest currently operating political-military alliance based on the principle of collective defence. After 66 years, however, NATO has changed its basic assumption, formulated during the Cold War, of being a defensive alliance whose main goal was to protect the transatlantic area from aggression from the East. After the end of the Cold War, NATO faced different security challenges. It required a new paradigm which was established in changing geopolitical realities. The essential element of this process, emanating in the form of the Strategic Concepts, was a need to identify the scope and range of NATO’s activities. At the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century NATO decided that it should not only enlarge itself geographically (by accepting states from the ex-Soviet sphere of influence), but also seek a cooperation with partners outside the transatlantic area.
One such region is the Middle East. In the post-Cold War period it was agreed that this area generated serious threats to international security, including to NATO member states, such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, migration, ethnic and religious conflicts. At the beginning NATO’s focus concentrated on the Middle East’s southern part. In the Strategic Concept of 1999 it was agreed that “the Mediterranean is an area of special interest to the Alliance. Security in Europe is closely linked to the security and stability in the Mediterranean”. In 1994 the Alliance initiated the Mediterranean Dialogue as a platform for cooperation with every interested state from the Middle East. At the beginning of the 21st century this formula was enhanced. In June 2004 during the NATO Summit in Istanbul, a new framework was revealed – the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) which was designed for the GCC member states. It assumes joint actions aimed at strengthening stability in the Gulf sub-region, particularly security. From the very beginning it was planned that the ICI would not be an instrument of NATO’s enlargement and would not provide any security guarantees to the GCC member states. States such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE announced their willingness to join the ICI framework.
The main goal of this paper is to present and analyse the potential role of the ICI in building security in the Gulf. At the same time we will determine to what degree NATO can shape a sub-regional architecture of security.