Arab monarchies from cooperation to union
Trend Arabic news service commentator Aygul Taghiyeva
The political life of the last year remained in our memory as the chain of revolutions of the so-called "Arab spring". They occupied almost the entire agenda of 2011. However, along with them, Arab world has witnessed other important events.
Undoubtedly, one of the principal ones in late 2011 was Saudi Arabia's proposal to the Arab countries - members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) to transform this organization from the Cooperation Council into the Union.
Saudi Arabian king made this proposal at the CCASG summit on December 19-20. He explained his initiative as a result of difficult political situation and serious external threat to security in the region, referring to Iran and its political ambitions.
One could have guessed about Saudi Arabian monarch's concerns about worsening the situation in Iraq after the withdrawal of the U.S troops and strengthening of the Shiite impact in the country.
The special cmmission will consider the details of a possible union, consisting of three representatives from each country. The cmmission will be set up in February. It will begin to work out the details of creating a single currency and implement other details of the Saudi Arabian project.
The establishment of the Union of the Arab States of the Gulf first involves the introduction of a common currency, the abolition of tariff barriers in mutual trade, the creation of a unified army and economic integration. So, this is the Arabic version of the European Union.
Can this union replace the League of Arab States? Moreover, the CCASG has proved itself as the most influential force in the Arab world during the "Arab spring". The League of Arab States moves to the second place, by giving leadership to the Cooperation Council. Its countries have relatively painless experienced revolutionary upheavals in neighboring countries.
The initiative of transforming the CCASG into the union is explained by another important factor. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been trying to be regional leaders for a long time. It should be noted that they do it quite well.
Relatively stable domestic situation in the CCASG countries made it possible for the Council to take leading position in the Arab world. A striking example for this is taking difficult and responsible moves during events in Libya. It is the CCASG countries that supported NATO decision on introducing non-fly zone over Libya and on start of military operation in the country. In particular, the UAE and Qatar assigned its Air Forces and funded military operation along with NATO.
The CCASG members also took part in settlement of Yemen crisis where relative stability is observed. Amidst all this, the LAS which tried to strengthen its influence in settlement of regional crises and tries currently to establish order in Syria doesn't look very well. Moreover, observers of the League in Syria didn't achieve concrete results. As a result, the LAS lost credit of protesting Syrians and was blamed by Damask for non-having concrete position in the Syrian question.
On the other hand an important matter for transformation of the CCASG into a union is economic factor and relations with the West.
The key factor which laid the foundation of development of economic relations between the Gulf countries and the West is naturally huge resources of hydrocarbons in these countries. The West and the US in particular has always pursued strategic goals in relations with the monarchies of the Gulf possessing almost half of the world's oil reserves.
The CCASG commits itself to maintain stability in world's oil market in particular energy security of the US. Washington in its turn pledges itself to ensure support of ruling monarchical regimes and preserve security in the Gulf region.
The CCASG countries have recently started to pursue a course of decreasing dependence of its economies on oil sector. Thus, in the UAE non-oil sector is 70 percent and in Bahrain it is 80 percent.
Thus, having concentrated in its arms huge and increasing capitals and having won support of the US from which the Council countries buy huge amounts of military equipment and arms union of Arab monarchies may become decisive force not only in the region but also in bigger territory.
And if such a union in established we can witness integration union, which concentrated huge financial and energy resources in its arms and influencing seriously world politics.