Mixed reactions to GCC’s expansion plans

May 11, 2011

For Saud Al Ansari, the perspective of Morocco and Jordan joining the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is very alluring.

“This means that the population will double and that the area will be much vaster,” he said. “More importantly, the expansion will give more power and greater economic opportunities for the alliance, especially when there are security and business challenges,” the office clerk said.

Shaikh Jaber Al Khalifa, a political analyst, said that putting the eight monarchies in the Arab world under a single umbrella would be a positive step.

“When political systems with common visions and ideas work together, you should expect good results because they are not held back by divergent political ideologies,” he said. “The expansion of the only Arab alliance that has survived for almost 30 years should yield great outcomes. However, the integration should be gradual in order not to make mistakes or cause problems,” he said.

According to Shaikh Jaber, traditions, social norms are shared by Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

“It is the colonialism that divided tribes and people through imposing borders. Tribes have been divided into two and more countries. There are families for instance in Aqaba, Jordan, that have close family relations with families in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

However, Abdul Hameed Ahmad, a purchasing supervisor, said that he had doubts about the success of the expansion.

“We have close ties with Jordan, a country that has been familiar to us over the years,” he said. “The integration of Jordan however looks much easier than that of Morocco, a distant country about which we do not know much. We have nothing against Morocco, but we need to move more carefully here. In all cases, we do welcome the expansion of the GCC,” he said.

Abdullah Majeed said that Egypt should have been included in the expansion bid.

“Any expansion of an Arab alliance should contemplate seriously the inclusion of Egypt because of its history and current political and social weight,” he said. “We understand that Syria cannot for the time being do much because of its domestic situation, but Egypt can and it should be part of the expansion,” he said.

Maysa Al Kooheji, an avid online user, said that the expansion should include at a later stage Turkey. “This is a matter of survival and there is no room for sentimentalism when real politick is urgently needed,” she said. “Turkey has a lot to offer in most areas and we should seriously consider closer relations and cooperation with Ankara,” she said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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