Security concerns to dominate GCC summit

By Rahul Dass, IANS
Monday, December 6, 2010

ABU DHABI - Security concerns are likely to dominate the two-day summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that begins later Monday in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Dec 6-7 summit will be led by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the president of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.

“The security threat agenda for the GCC conference is really pregnant and stocked with so many problems for the leadership to deal with,” The National quoted Riad Kahwaji, the chief executive of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, as saying.

“With the primary neighbours of the Gulf, you have ongoing problems in Yemen, ongoing problems in Iraq, and potential big problems from the East if the Iran situation escalates.”

Yemen’s security situation was brought into focus in October this year when bombs were discovered in cargo flown from Yemen at airports in Dubai and London en route to the US.

The GCC was set up by an agreement concluded May 25, 1981 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia among Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE because of their special ties, geographic proximity, similar political systems based on Islamic belief and common political and strategic objectives.

Mohamed bin Huwaidin, an associate professor of political science at UAE University, observed that the rise and proliferation of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the risk posed to Yemen’s neighbours through terror attacks and recruitment of extremists represented primary threats facing the Gulf countries.

“Yemen is very important because of its proximity and the presence, growth and proliferation of Al Qa’eda,” he said, adding: “There are many challenges across the Gulf region…The primary one, I would say, is the terrorists.”

GCC Secretary General Abdul Rahman Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah had recently said: “Our focus is Gulf security with a view to safeguarding our homelands and maintaining their integration.”

The summit is being held in Abu Dhabi, the country’s largest of seven emirates with over 1.6 million residents.

(Rahul Dass can be contacted at

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