Expanding the GCC

I previously described the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) as the future EU of Arabia. It is certainly the most successful multinational cooperative body outside the EU, and is made up of the six monarchies of the Gulf: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, and Oman. 25 May 2011 will mark the 30th anniversary of the organization’s founding.

For years there has been discussion that Yemen, the poorer republic to the south, could become a member state. And after the fall of Saddam, there was further discussion that Iraq could become a member as well. But both these candidate states have always seemed unlikely to me — they are republics that overthrew their monarchs, with larger and significantly poorer populations that make it an uneasy fit with the rest of the GCC.

But there has been much speculation in the news recently that the GCC could expand to include Jordan and Morocco. Jordan has officially submitted an application to become a member, and there is support and guidance for Morocco to submit an application soon.

There has been some criticism in international papers that the new members confirm the GCC as a club of monarchies. This could also increase the likelihood that democratic reformers inspired by Egypt and Tunisia will be subject to a Bahrain-like transnational army stopping protesters. But certainly Jordan stands to reap great economic benefits by tying up with the rich countries of the Gulf.

Endnote: Interestingly, a number of Gulf women fear that the admission of Jordan and Morocco to the GCC will result in the local men looking for wives in the two countries. With all the barriers for women in the Gulf countries to marry foreigners when compared to few restrictions on the men, an estimated 25% of men in the UAE are married to foreigners, causing a serious problem that has brought the spinster rate to as high as 30+%.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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7 Responses to Expanding the GCC

  1. Alfred Russel Wallace says:

    Yemen?? Who would you ask?

  2. “… a club of monarchies …”

    Most of the best governed countries in the world are monarchies.

    Constitutional monarchies are better than plain old monarchies.

    But plain old monarchies are better than dictatorships, which most so called republics end up being.

    The Egyptians should seriously consider restoring a monarch, subject to constitutional limits.

    (I suppose it is too much to hope that they would restore a British “resident” like Lord Cromer to actually run the place, which would really be a step toward order, prosperity and honest government. But I suppose that is off the table.)

  3. Scott says:

    I think its not just a club of monarchies, its the legitamite fear of Iran, and the unlegitamate fear of the Shia cresent that the king of Jordan was worried about.

  4. Raymond says:

    Have you guys been busy? I’ve been checking this blog almost everyday! Can’t wait to read more of your guy’s opinions.

  5. Inquisitive Officer says:

    I’m with Raymond-love the blog!

  6. Pingback: Gulf Women Worried | Middle East Madness

  7. Expat says:


    There are many interesting points in your article, but the endnote caught my attention. It is very rare to hear the open opinion of women complaining in the GCC and the comment made by the Saudi man in the article really makes you realise how difficult it is to be a woman in any of the countries in the region.

    He refers to the women as narrow-minded, now I wouldn’t say they are perfect, but one thing is for sure a great many of them are anything but narrow-minded. With women like Queen Rania joining the GCC alongside Sh Moza of Qatar, maybe it’s the men who should be worried?