By Dr.Ali Ahmed Aldailmi
The security system of the Gulf rests on three poles: Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia including other GCC states and Yemen. While GCC States welcomed the American presence as a strategic and political asset to keep the status quo, Iran did not. Iran felt the United States military and political presence in the area was denying it the right to play its role as a leading power in the Gulf and in the Middle East at large.Threats to the regional stability over the next decade may occur in three main areas of critical activity: Iraq’s security and political reconstruction, Iran’s nuclear program, and internal unrest in the states of the GCC and Yemen.Terrorism and internal instability represent the most imminent threats to the states of the GCC and Yemen.
A gulf security framework that involves GCC member states, Iraq, Iran and Yemen would likely be welcomed by all; its success would depend on the goals, the contribution and the will of its members, the interaction between the members and the U.S. in connection with American presence and basing – regulated by bilateral agreements – and the mechanism applied to develop security institutions to improve regional security.The Gulf region has witnessed, in some stages of its development, an unstableform of the balance of power of its local actors.
There were times when Iraq served as a balancing power against Iran. Today, however, the regional system lacks the existence of any reliable local strategic system that is capable of resolving or containing conflicts. The absence of such a system is tantamount to the Gulf lacking an infrastructure essential to protecting the region from open warfare. A regional security system can be defined, very generally, as a set of principles which are agreed upon by and among a number of neighbouring and/or interested countries in an attempt to manage common security issues.
At the 2004 Gulf Dialogue in Bahrain, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal declared that there was an urgent need "for a collective effort aimed at developing a new and more solid framework for Gulf security."
In the Saudi minister's view, the security arrangement would go beyond the Gulf Cooperation Council states and include "a prosperous Yemen, a stable Iraq, and a friendly Iran," and be underpinned by guarantees provided by the international community as a whole rather than by just "the only superpower in the world. I believe that the geopolitical significance of the Gulf region will increase substantially over the next decades as the energy demands of China and India skyrocket. The Gulf is a relatively constricted geographic area of great existing or potential volatility. The smaller states of the gulf are particularly vulnerable, having limited indigenous populations and, in most cases, armed forces with little more than symbolic value to defend their countries against aggression. But Yemen has the populations and can be part of GCC Countries with any arrangement for Gulf security .Today, the Gulf is an area that the GCC alone is unable to maintain its stability and security. And because the Gulf has become a great source of influence internationally, any danger threatening the area will also threaten the stability of these international forcesTherefore, there is not the least bit of doubt that the Yemen will play an effective role in maintaining the stability of the Gulf and protect it from any dangers threatening its stability. Historically there have always been enough people in power who have had a moderating effect. Yemen has never conventionally attacked another country, and Sanaa is a lot more sensitive to the opinions of the Gulf States than it might seem.
We know that the establishment of a viable regional security and cooperation arrangement in the Gulf area is not an easy task. Differences between the countries in the region, some publicized and some less a matter of international public attention, do exist, and require an approach which is sensitive to these concerns and problems. But it is important to build a new system in this strategic region based on the lessons that we have learned from the past not to repeat the same mistakes.
I think that one of the best approaches could be the establishment of a negotiating Conference under the auspices of the GCC This Conference should be entrusted to commence-discussions on a broad spectrum of security and cooperation.