|Gulf States Union|
|Formation||January 20, 1990|
|Region served||Middle East|
The Gulf States Union (GSU), also referred to as the Union of Gulf States or Arabian Union, is an economic and political union in the Arabian Peninsula, consisting of the independent nations of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Per agreement among the participating nations, they are represented by a single delegate on the League of Nations, but are considered to members in standing.
In the years preceding Doomsday, there had existed a number of unions among the nations of the Middle East and the Arab world. In May 1981, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and the UAE, voted to form the economic and political union known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC was designed as a framework for policy coordination, with the ultimate goal of securing the Persian Gulf and keeping their nations free from subversion. The countries were drawn together because of their commonality in they were ruled by princely families; conservative, pro-Western, and anti-Communist; and represented a quarter of the non-Communist oil in the world at the time.
On Doomsday, despite their close affiliation with the US and Western Europe, none of the six nations, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, was directly impacted. Although targeted by a single Soviet ICBM, the Saudi Royal Air Force was successful in downing it with the help of USAF early warning planes stationed in the country. The largest immediate impact would be the radioactive fallout from nuclear strikes by both US and USSR throughout the region and the vast number of refugees seeking asylum and aid.
The direct effects of Doomsday withstanding, the greatest consequence of the war would be on the economies of the region. Given a substantial portion of the GCC's average GNP was derived from the sale of oil and natural gas, the sudden loss of major customers as the US, Europe, and Japan, would prove catastrophic. By the spring of 1984, the Arabian nations had watched their incoming revenue plunge by more than 50%, as oil, which once had been selling around $30-$34 a barrel, had dropped to below $5. This, coupled with the loss of funds invested in foreign banks and bonds, hit the oil nations like a sledgehammer. Millions were thrown out of work as petroleum and gas facilities began to shutdown and scale back activities, which in turn had a ripple effect on other aspects of the economy. Governments were forced to cut back on the vast welfare states which the oil revenue had fueled.
Throughout the late 1980s, the GCC nations were buffeted by protests and riots. This included violence against tens of thousands of foreign workers as local citizens demanded to know why jobs were being given to them, when so many of their own countrymen were suffering. As a direct result and to bring about calm, many of these workers were forcibly expelled. Nations were compelled to declare emergencies or martial law on several occasions, sending out police and military to enforce order. Throughout this time, the GCC nations continued to move closer together and talk began to surface from different quarters about forming a more permanent union. However, it would take a threat from an old enemy to make it come about.
Prior to Doomsday, both Iraq and Iran were viewed as security threats and as such, the GCC was content to sit back and allow the two nations to savage each other in the Iran-Iraq War. After a temporary ceasefire following Doomsday, Iraq suddenly renewed its attack on Iran in late 1984 with a vengeance. When the dust finally settled in early 1986, Iraq had emerged victorious, occupying Tehran and forcing the Iranians to hand over a substantial part of their western region. Around this time, low level talks began amongst GCC foreign ministers about developing a unified military command which could answer any future threats from Iraq. Events though began to overtake these discussions. In the late summer of 1988, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein began making noises publicly and privately about bringing Kuwait, the "errant fourteenth province", back into the fold. In early 1989, Saudi Arabia began to pick up reports of Iraqi forces making suspicious moves towards the border. King Fahd made a decision to send a sizable number of troops into Kuwait to back up the nation as well as positioning more along the Saudi-Iraq border. Other GCC nations soon sent contingents as well, ground, air, and naval, to help. The bold move had made the GCC message clear to Iraq, back off or face war.
In the end, Hussein would blink and pull his forces back. The Kuwaiti crisis though had finally driven home the truth, without the West to protect them anymore, the GCC had no one to rely upon other then themselves for protection. The time had finally come for a formal union. Per the agreement of the six nations, their foreign ministers sat down on June 1, 1989, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, to begin hammering out a union. The process would last at least six months and involve arguments, yelling, and at times walk outs. In the end, they worked out an agreement. Signed on December 5, 1989, the Treaty of Abu Dhabi, officially enacted the union. Following final approval in each of the six nations, the Gulf States Union, or GSU, went into effect on January 20, 1990.
GSU Charter Highlights
- All members are independent entities within the union, responsible for their own affairs
- Standardization of regulations between members in fields such as economy, finance, trade, customs, tourism, legislation, and administration.
- All commercial barriers between members are disbanded allowing for a free trade zone
- Ministries established to oversee and advance joint research centers which promote scientific and technical progress in key areas such as industry, mining, agriculture, water, fisheries, and animal resources.
- Establish a joint military command with a rapid deployment force (Peninsula Shield) to consist of elements from all members. Also, construction of armament plants to begin replacing aging military equipment.
- Creation of a central bank and establishment of single currency by 2000
Under the terms of the charter, the GCC government, based in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, is divided into three sections:
The Supreme Council, consisting of the heads of state for members. Presided over by a Secretary General, a post which rotates every three years, based on nation's name. The council meets on a monthly basis to discuss matters of importance or as needed. Furthermore, the Council appoints a Consultative Commission, consisting of five members from each state, chosen based on their experience and qualification for a period of thee years. They are charged with studying matters referred to them by the council and reporting back to them.
Ministerial Council, consisting of the foreign ministers of member nations. Among their duties, the Council is authorized to propose policies, lay out recommendations, and encourage and coordinate the already existing activities in all fields. Resolutions adopted by other ministerial committees are referred to the Ministerial Council, which in turn would refer the relevant matters, along with appropriate recommendations, to the Supreme Council for approval. The Ministerial Council is also charged with arranging the Supreme Council meetings and preparing their agenda. Procedures of voting are similar to those applicable at the Supreme Council.
Secretariat General, oversees the operations of the ministries, with the deputy secretariat generals who directly head the, reporting to him. Additionally, the secretariat general handles other tasks such as preparing reports; coordinating activities; and briefing the Supreme Council. The GCC ministries include Political Affairs; Economic; Military; Human and Environment; Finance and Administration; Science; and Telecommunications.
To be continued
When the League of Nations was established in 2008, the heads of the GSU states debated whether they should join as separate stats or as a single entity. Following intense discussions, the decision was made to appoint a single delegate to represent the GSU in the LON assembly. The current GSU Secretary General, Abdul Rahman ibn Hamad al-Attiyah, continues to argue the GSU should be allowed the position of continental representative in the LON for the Middle East, stating the region has existed as an entity separate from the adjacent continents of Asia or Africa, with its own uniques concerns and interests. Although the LON has reluctantly agreed to consider the request, no timetable has been set for the forseeable future.
To be continued
As of 2010, in addition to other concerns, the GSU is giving serious debate regarding the application of Yemen as well as other nations which have emerged following the collapse of Iraq in the early 1990s after the assassination of Saddam Hussein and a violent civil war. Currently, the matter is under examination by the Consultative Commission, with a suspense to brief the Supreme Council later in the year.