GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
N. Rózsa
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Cold War modalities - do they have a chance in the Gulf?
Paper Proposal Text :
Cold War modalities – do they have a chance in the Gulf?

The existence of a Cold War between Iran and Saudi Arabia has become the keyword to explain the relationship between the two sides of the Gulf. While the situation in and around the Gulf is much more complex, with several other tensions both “within the family” (KSA-Qatar) and among state and non-state actors (governments vs the Muslim Brotherhood) or non-classical state actor (the Da’esh), the classical Cold War offered different institutions or models, which would be worthwhile examining within the Gulf context. The primary reliance in the Cold War on military capabilities, the several different confidence-building measures as well as bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements, especially related to the European theatre where the superpowers faced each other through their allies, provide important lessons. While Europe and the Gulf are different in many ways, “technical” solutions are worth examining and may be implemented. Therefore, the present proposal aims at analyzing the technical details and their applicability among the relevant states of the Gulf region.
The CSCE/OSCE was probably the loosest, most encompassing conference-like structure at the beginning. For the Gulf it offers the concept of a wider geographic region, including both sides of the Gulf plus Iraq – and maybe beyond. Its three basket structure – security and political, economic and financial, and social issues – with no conditionality among them, is on the one hand loose enough to be able to offer different fields for cooperation, according to the actual will and capabilities of the participants. On the other hand it resembles the cooperation activities within the GCC, though does not exclude such initiatives as the common visa regime or the common currency.
The CFE Treaty, especially its concentric regional zones concept, could provide a geographical approach and depth. Building on the “block mentality” – especially on the side of the Arab Gulf states - and the balancing between the capabilities in some weapons categories, could address the most imminent threats perceived, e.g. the US and other western security umbrella for some, or the US threat perceived for others.
The complementing Open Skies Treaty – with the active and passive quotas of reconnoisant flights in each other’s air space - could add to confidence-building among the participants.
Finally, the Rapacki Plan of the denuclearization of Central Europe along the border of the NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization, though has not been realized, but could offer important lessons in voiding a zone of a specific category of weapons of mass destruction. Though all the Gulf states are parties to the NPT, CWC and the BTWC, the important category of missiles is not covered by any multilateral treaties. As UNSC Resolution 687 provided an example, the limitation of missiles – of a specified range – could be a step towards security.
In themselves, neither arrangement could be applied completely in the Gulf, but by examining the different ideas, and especially the technical details, at least some elements of a Gulf security structure could be drawn up.