December 12, 2013 | Quote

The GCC’s Future Military Command a ‘Political Signal,’ Say Experts

Leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States on Wednesday approved the founding of a unified military command structure that could combat threats to the region.

Additionally, the UAE was chosen by GCC leaders to be the host of a think tank for the study of shared security threats in the region, according to UAE-based newspaper The National.

The military initiative by GCC member states was largely a “political signal,” Matteo Legrenzi, an associate professor and chair in international relations and Gulf studies at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, told Al Arabiya News.

David Weinberg, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Al Arabiya News the announcement is a step towards the GCC’s unity.

“The Gulf states share a common cultural, political, and strategic heritage, and therefore the latest GCC summit represents another notable step toward the widely shared aspiration of unity in the Gulf,” Weinberg said.

Weinberg echoed similar sentiments, saying “divergent state interests” will continue to pose a challenge for GCC institutions to take further steps toward unity.

“Oman and Qatar will likely resist making military consolidation binding in the future for fear of putting their marine natural gas fields (which are shared with Tehran) at risk in the event that they want to sit out a conflict between Iran and the rest of in the Gulf,” he added.

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