GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Confronting threats from Iran through proactive cooperation with Iraq: “Objective Necessity” for the Gulf Cooperation Council
Paper Proposal Text :
The US led invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam’s regime has affected security in the Gulf. The destruction of the balance of power entrenched in the triangle among the GCC, Iraq and Iran, has empowered Iran to expand its influence in the Gulf. At the same time most of the GCC countries especially Saudi Arabia, saw this shift as a major threat to its security. This shift in the balance of power along with the US lead coalition’s ill effort to manage post-conflict environment has stimulated additional side effects that influence GCC security. Sectarian violence in post conflict Iraq and its spill-over capability has intensified Sunni-Shia rift across the GCC countries. The infiltration of none state violent groups associated with Al Qaeda has further stimulated sectarian violence and negatively affected GCC-Iraq relations. In addition the evaporation of the balance of power after the US led coalition and its aftermath in the Gulf has tremendously increased the oil prize. At the same time the US led coalition’s withdrawal from Iraq has arguably opened the door for Iran to move into his best position to influence the political shape of Iraq. Hence if the GCC countries are about to maintain stability and prevent Iran to dominate the Gulf there is something to be done with Iraq’s stability and security.
Some have suggested that GCC countries should approach this security challenge with expanding regional cooperation and/or co-opting Iraq. These Western dominated theses more or less steam from the ideas about the democratic peace which is accompanied by the collective security arrangements and/or producing a win – win scenarios. Following this model for example, so far the Euro-Atlantic integration has proven to be helpful tool to overcome complex issues in South-East and Central Europe. On the other hand the GCC has so far helped in solving many of the intra-group problems and has served as background for military cooperation. Nevertheless one should bear in mind that Gulf region is complex environment where history, culture and religion along with domestic, regional and international actors comprise policy choices and decisions.
Therefore the first thesis of the article is that the complex environment in the Gulf holds potential to affect Iraq’s future either by descending in to civil war or turning in to dictatorship aligned with aggressive Iran. Either ways this will affect GCC security. The article will argue that GCC countries need to act proactively if they are about to prevent Iran’s dominance through Iraq’s security. To support this article will focus on the potentials of GCC enlargement as a doable solution to the existing security challenges that come from Iraq after the US and coalition’s withdrawal. Hence the second thesis of the article is that if Iraq did not become GCC member it will remain fertile ground for regional destabilization through its neighbors’ proxy wars and non-state actors. So far GCC has achieved conspicuous progress among others in political and security related matters. However one should be cautious when hoping for an easy success regarding the GCC – Iraq partnership.
Consequently the last part of the article will focus on alternative possible solutions based on cooperation among the GCC countries and Iraq. The GCC partial success in Yemeni crisis gives promises that such approach could contain sectarian radicalization and positively influence Iraq’s and Gulfs region stability. Nonetheless without the US support in these efforts is more then welcome.