1.1 continuous interferences by the super powers1.1 continuous interferences by the super powers

1.1        
Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC)

Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional intergovernmental political and
economic union, consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except Iraq.
Members of GCC are Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE). All
Persian Gulf states are monarchies. The Charter of the GCC was signed on, 25
May 1981, officially founding the institution. GCC is a political and economic
union of Persian Gulf states that covers wider areas of cooperation between
member states. With significant importance in international affairs, the Gulf
region has long been one of the most impulsive parts of the globe as well. From
historical Israel-Arab conflict saga, latest Arab spring endeavors, terrorism
and terrorist networks, ISIS emergence, and other inter-state conflicts in
Middle East and GCC countries seek attention as most conflict hit zone in the
world. Wars, coups d’état, rapid shift of alignments and alliances, several
intra-Arab and regional conflicts, and continuous interferences by the super
powers have disturbed the region. Despite all these problems GCC states have
significant revenues from petroleum. GCC as a body for regional cooperation has
more importance as an economic block rather than conflict resolving body. Pakistan,
has always given high priority to friendly and cordial relationship with Gulf
States. Stronger economic, social, political, military relations and
cooperation are in the interest of Pakistan and GCC for peace and security of
region and world at large. Pakistan as the sole atomic power of Muslim world
having professional army has always played prominent positive role in
controlling and minimizing any escalation of conflicts in Middle East and
Persian Gulf. Pakistan has kept balance in relation with GCC and Iran (next
door neighbor) not only for her own internal security situation but for wider
peace in Muslim world.

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1.2        Significance of the Research Topic

The
challenges spawned by the crisis in the Middle East are not limited to the
region and are affecting extra regional players too. Crisis in the Middle East,
has created an additional challenge for Pakistan in the form of a polarized
public opinion. Pakistan’s concern is that of sectarian, radical violence in
the Middle East (ME), which has all the chances to spills over in its territory,
and can seriously damage the already delicate security situations inside its
border. This study tries to highlight these challenges and suggest way forward
for Pakistan in future relations with GCC states. For Pakistan in spite of
facing a bulk of internal security challenges, with still evolving collective
national narrative, additional polarization becomes a particularly serious
challenge. Initially, there were worries that the Yemen crisis could intimidate
to undermine the national consensus on counter- terrorism, but Yemen has been progressively
relegated to a back burner because of Pakistan’s own concern with domestic
politics and its strained relations with its neighboring countries, India and
Afghanistan. Pakistan is particularly exposed to these challenges. This
situation calls for reforms in its internal as well external policies to be
able to effectively respond to the challenges stimulated by the crisis in the
Middle East. These reforms are much needed as the crisis in the Middle East is
unlikely to subside in the near future. Political instability will continue to
evade the region. The civil wars in Syria and Yemen are likely to turn into
protracted conflicts; with increasingly catastrophic humanitarian consequences.
Iran and GCC states will continue to support opposing camps in various theatres
of conflict in the region, which would keep their relations alienated or even
hostile.

1.3     Research Question

The paper covers areas of interest of GCC
as organization, its achievements and failures in building stronger relations
of its member states within and also with neighboring states. The current
standoff between GCC and Qatar surfaced new challenges and made GCC’s role more
important in such scenario. The crisis in GCC region and its impacts to the
world peace. Analysis of the existing fissures in GCC, its political,
socio-economic and security impact on the region and options available to
Pakistan.

In terms of broad research questions, Erickson, Florio, and
Buschman1 suggest
that qualitative methods are best at seeking answers to the following five
questions:

·        
What was the purpose and mandate for creating GCC?

·        
What are the major reasons of prevailing divide amongst the GCC member
countries?

·        
What are the likely impact of this crisis on the region?

·        
Why has GCC failed to maintain regional stability and prosperity?

·        
What are the political, socio-economic and security challenges as well
as opportunities for Pakistan in wake of current crisis?

1 1. F. Erickson, S. Florio, and J. Buchman, Fieldwork in
Educational Research (East Lansing: Michigan State University, Institute of
Research, 1980): 196 – 882