GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
Zain AlAbdin
First Name:
Title of Paper:
The Impact of non state actors on the GCC-Iraqi relations
Paper Proposal Text :
The Impact of non state actors on the GCC-Iraqi relations
Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority Paul Bremer set up a system of government in which the president was a Kurd, the Prime minister a Shiite and the president (speaker) of Parliament a Sunni.
This experiment however did not bring stability to Iraq, which has since suffered from a period of civil unrest and political turmoil. Further, it has posed a threat to neighboring GCC countries, all of whom have voiced their concerns over mounting sectarian tension and its impact on weakening the state’s role in the Arab region. The political scene has become dominated by religious movements, ethnic groups and regional coalitions.
The problem lies in the fact that the Iraqi case fanned sectarian flames across the Middle East; US and Iranian policy aimed at Shiite minority empowerment in the region rather than on social and political inclusion thus creating an imbalance and growing tension between communities.
Groups with political and religious foundations in GCC countries were formed around the end of the 1960s as branches of the emerging political organisations in Iraq. The two most notable of these movements was al-Da’wa Party which was influenced by the Hawza-Najaf school of thought, and founded by Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr. The other was al-Rissaly- al-Shirazi movement originating in Karbala. Both these camps competed for the control of mosques and charity funds across the Arab Gulf states.
Challenges emerging from these non-state forces have posed a great threat to the GGC countries’ national and regional security. These forces have an independent identity and operate in an arena separate from that of the state they include: extremist groups, ethnic and sectarian organizations and transnational political groups, whose influence and impact have increased in an unprecedented manner.
During the past two decades a number of these regional networks have emerged including: the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain, the Islamic Martyrs Movement, the Revolutionary Cells Movement and the Islamic Unity Movement. They staged terrorist attacks as seen in Saudi Arabia under the Islamic Revolution Organization, which adopted armed violence towards security forces during the Pilgrimage season in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, October 1980.
The absence of clear policy by the GCC states to deal with these latter elements lead to their transformation from benevolent forces to tools used by foreign organized networks to undermine the security and stability of states.
Perhaps the most striking phenomenon in the Arab revolutions are the attempts of these groups to acquire international legitimacy and recognition, regardless of the level of extremism and violence they exert, such as the case of similar militias in Iraq and Lebanon.
This underscores the need for Arabian Gulf States to develop a clear strategy for dealing with these forces that have participated in worsening relations with post 2003 Iraq.
This can be done through the implementation of regional cultural projects that limits the risk of extremist ideologies and sectarian fanaticism.
It is also essential for the GCC states to work towards a regional security setup by adopting new concepts based on partnership and cooperation.
The GCC states have covered substantial ground in military and security cooperation, but further efforts are required to come up with means of reducing the threat of terrorist networks that are used to destabilize regional security.