Why Yemen is so Insistent to Join GCC? [Archives:2001/30/Focus]

July 23 2001

Mohammed B. Sallam
It is undoubted that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was established for a strategic goal stemming from the demands and believes of the governments and the people of these countries but in compliance with recommendations of the hegemonic world’s superpowers. The creation of the GCC was a strategic response in order to stop the liberal Islamic progress of the Islamic Revolution led by Imam Ayat Allah Khameni and to downsize the Iraqi growing military role so as to prevent any threat against the Hebrew state. These are the principal goals according to which the GCC has been established.
In a cursory look to the accomplishments of the GCC since its establishment in the eighties up to this very moment it will be clear for us how it is so fragile and its members lack the necessary common ground. This is due to the fact that blocking of the Gulf countries in a single grouping has not come to meet the demands of their people.
Based on testimonies of its members, the Gulf Cooperation Council has not achieved 80 percent of its planned goals in all fields.
At the economic level the GCC countries have failed to achieve complementary for enhancing the common interests among the member states. And as far as the security and military cooperation are concerned, it sounds that the member states have failed to create a mutual trust between the leaderships of the member states.
Another issue illustrative of the extent of failure of GCC is that up to now the citizens of the member states have to use their identity cards when moving from a country to other. Furthermore, the citizens of the Gulf countries are not entitled to stay, work or invest within the lands of the member states and in this case they are treated similarly to foreigners.
We always hear about meetings, conferences and summits held by the GCC member states for discussing the current issues concerning the region and the Arab world but unfortunately the decisions taken by these countries always come to no avail whether at the level of the Gulf states or that pertaining to the Palestinian cause.
So why does Yemen is so insistent on demand to join the Gulf Cooperation Council?
Some Arab and foreign observers are unanimous that the Yemeni leadership has no clear or defined strategy with regard to its quest for GCC acceding. Most of the decisions taken by the Yemeni Government are not well-studied or planned in advance as they are usually taken haphazardly and there are many illustrations of this. For instance, the attempts by Yemen to join some of the regional and international blocs such as the Commonwealth, the Arab Cooperation Council, West Asian countries and now Yemen is seeking to form a new bloc for the Red Sea countries.
An important thing to add in this regard is that the different economic crises Yemen has and is still undergoing can not be merely solved by joining the different regional and international blocs but through activating the role of the studies and research centers for making plans and studies that designate what we should first do and what the others want from us. The economic crisis Yemen is going through can not be solved by exporting labor to the Gulf states as it used to be in the seventies and eighties of the last century.
Yemen has lots of potentials and capacities of its own and before thinking of joining the Gulf Cooperation Council or any other bloc it should make a wise use of these resources. Moreover, the GCC member states themselves are not benefiting from this council and they are not going to benefit due to the absence of some of the most influential states of the Gulf Iran and Iraq.