GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
Dr. Omair Anas
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Decline of GCC-Egypt Alliance: Political Economy of Middle Eastern System after Uprisings
Paper Proposal Text :

A regional system is often made of one or two main players and few subordinates and many dependent players, a qualification Middle East does not meet with. The Middle East system, if it ever were, did not get much space of independence to operate, mainly due to abundance of regional rival players and their dependence on extra regional powers. Volatility and vulnerability of the Middle East system lies within its artificiality of the system which has always been challenged from internal and external forces.
Post-Ottoman, the region devolved in 22 Arabic speaking nation-states without any effective and rational regional cooperation. Of many reasons, strongest one is the reality of many equal potential powers whose interests and sources and sphere of influence and competition remained same. To maintain balance of power in their favour, each power has involved external actors so deeply that the political game has gone beyond regional limits. North African Arab states, Levant and Iraq and Yemen remained peripheral to the newly emerged core of the Middle East. Non-state actors of the region remained allies with this core under the pretext of fighting with socialism and Shi’ism, ostensibly to contain Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi and or Iranian influence. With emergence of a powerful and prosperous GCC, decline of Egypt’s leadership accompanied and gradual its dependency on the Gulf’s rentier economy increased.
Arab uprisings had great potential, if not intentions, to challenge GCC’s disproportionate share of power in the region. With neoliberal reforms in Egypt and Tunisia, they observed gradual exit from Gulf controlled system. Notwithstanding counter revolution in Egypt, GCC is not able to bring back Egypt into its system. The pre-uprising Middle East could have been defined as an extended rentier society largely dictated by political economy of the Gulf countries, however, post-uprising Middle East is marked by aspirations to shift form rentier economy to a more diversified, productive and knowledge based economy. In reality this shift was not in contradiction with GCC’s long term development agenda as defined by its official policies.
Three years after the uprisings, GCC and Egypt are standing with most exceptional unease which has also caused internal divisions within powerful GCC council. It is argued here that GCC-Egypt alliance of convenience has come to an end. With or without military at the helm of Egyptian affairs, their partnership with the GCC countries does not guarantee change of status quo for Egypt and hence Egypt has to play more assertive and aggressive role in the regional politics, showing aspiration to take leading role. An analysis of political economy of GCC-Egypt alliance suggest similar scenario.