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The Riyadh Summit Saves the GCC from Disintegration

21Nov

What happened at the Riyadh summit on Sunday, which led to announcing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit would convene in Doha early next month, rescued GCC from fragmentation, and increased the odds for establishing a GCC Plus with Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco. It also suggested that Qatar has decided to adopt a markedly new policy vis-à-vis Egypt, GCC countries, and the Muslim Brotherhood organization

What happened at the Riyadh summit on Sunday, which led to announcing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit would convene in Doha early next month, rescued GCC from fragmentation, and increased the odds for establishing a GCC Plus with Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco. It also suggested that Qatar has decided to adopt a markedly new policy vis-à-vis Egypt, GCC countries, and the Muslim Brotherhood organization. These are extremely important developments that have many implications for the GCC, regional security, the international coalition against ISIS and similar groups, and the identity of moderation declared by the leaderships of the GCC countries against extremism and terrorism. The Doha summit, which will handover the presidency of the GCC to Qatar next year, will not be ordinary, whether in terms of the issues raised during its sessions, or the positions and commitments of the new young Qatari leadership represented by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. What happened in the Riyadh summit is a testimony to the wisdom of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who chairs the GCC summit this year. The two men worked on healing rifts and giving priority to supreme interests over divisions, as they presented a roadmap to the young emir for holding the summit in Doha and for an exceptional Qatari chairmanship of the GCC in an exceptional time. Among those who had their eyes set the Riyadh summit and who will carefully observe what will come out of the Doha summit are not just the leaders of the United States, Russia, Europe, and China, but also the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rohani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The issue involves the future of the regional balance of power and the role of the GCC in these balances.

The first to be resentful of the prospects of rapprochement in the Gulf is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who believed his distinguished relationship with the leadership in Qatar, especially with the father Emir Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, was the guarantee of the continuation of the Muslim Brotherhood project. His keenness on having a special relationship with Qatar was based on their joint support for the Muslim brotherhood, which practically meant permanent division in the rank of GCC countries, undermining the future of the organization. This was reassuring for Erdogan, first, because division in any Arab ranks is conducive to Turkey’s rise in the region and to the strengthening of its position in the balance of power. And second, because his project based on the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the entire region was his ticket to reviving the Ottoman Empire.

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The Riyadh Summit Saves the GCC from Disintegration

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