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GCC: changing in size, constant in aims?

2011 marks 30 years since the establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the organisation made up of the six Arab monarchies of the Gulf region. Originally a geopolitical response to the Khomeinistic revolution and the following Iran-Iraq war, it became then a more integrate and cohesive regional bloc, although the process of integration has developed very slowly, characterised by latent political splits.

The Arab Spring gave a new political lifeblood to the GCC as it became a sort of conservative bastion of stability against revolution: with the direct Saudi intervention in Bahrain, a member state, and the opening to the possibility for Jordan and Morocco to join the organisation, although they are not Gulf Countries at all from a geographical point of view. Bahrain called also on Egypt to join the GCC.

In this proposed enlargement of the geographical scope of the organisation, all the very geopolitical conceptual roots of the GCC are visible: bringing together all the monarchies against the revolutionary movements in the wider region , recalling its original anti-revolutionary rationale, and the geopolitical obsession to contain Iranian power, and it is not a case that Bahrain sponsors Egypt as new member of the GCC. Egypt is the most important Arab power from a geopolitical point of view and bringing Cairo in the GCC will be an enormous geopolitical asset to contain and counterbalance Tehran, above all considered that Iran will be the main beneficiary of the announced American withdrawal from Iraq and will likely increase its influence in this space, fundamental for the geopolitical balances of the entire region given its geographical and historical centrality.


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