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The unification of the Arabian Peninsula?

Ahmed Jo

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Rather a 'single country' I believe a an Arabian Peninsula Union with a 'unified defense and economic system' would be more practical & efforts should be made in that direction even if it takes next 50 or so years.
That's a much more pragmatic solution and it should also ensure domestic autonomy for each country in this proposed Union.
 

al-Hasani

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one question wouldn't the poor countries like Yemen be a burden? Unless richer ones could help the poorer ones out. I mean EU gets dragged down even in one country performs poorly. And you are talking about a federation of many nations.
Well, there is only one poor country on the Arabian Peninsula if we just look at its political borders. That country is called Yemen.

Initially Yemen would be an economic burden but at the other hand the population of a unified Arabian Peninsula (political one) would be greatly enlarged if Yemen joined which itself has many positives, the land area and coastline as well. Also it would ensure control of the Bab el Mandeb (the southern version of the Suez Canal) and after all 25% of the world's sea traffic goes through the Red Sea so it has a very big geopolitical importance.

Lastly just the sheer population of Yemen (one of the fastest growing) is itself an asset IF they would become a part of a very powerful and rich union such as the GCC as those rich and prosperous countries could invest heavily in Yemen and help solve many of the problems that keep Yemen from progressing.

That's a much more pragmatic solution and it should also ensure domestic autonomy for each country in this proposed Union.
The key for my proposed union is federalism, democracy and cooperation. GCC is already a union that deals with economy, regional politics, military etc. Becoming a united federal state (like the US for instance) is the next natural step. That would be much better and make the region much more stronger.
 
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Jaanbaz

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Well, there is only one poor country on the Arabian Peninsula if we just look at the political borders.
Initially Yemen would be an economic burden but at the other hand the population of a unified Arabian Peninsula (political one) would be greatly enlarged if Yemen joined which itself has many positives, the land area and coastline as well. Also it would ensure control of the Bab el Mandeb (the southern version of the Suez Canal) and after all 25% of the world's sea traffic goes through the Red Sea so it has a very big geopolitical importance.
Lastly just the sheer population of Yemen (one of the fastest growing) is itself an asset IF they would become a part of a very powerful and rich union such as the GCC as those rich and prosperous countries could invest heavily in Yemen and help solve many of the problems that keep Yemen from progressing.
How will USA view this union and most of all their little friend Israel?
 

al-Hasani

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How will USA view this union and most of all their little friend Israel?
They would probably be against it just like every other regional player and the same goes for any future plan of creating regional political blocs in the Arab world which ultimately could result in an united federal Arab world which would be a world power without a doubt. But we should not care about them as this is a decision well within our reach. It depends on the people and you can only oppress the political will of a people for a certain period of time.
 

Ahmed Jo

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How does the GCC function exactly? I mean how much control does it as an entity have over its member states? And would it be renamed to something like the "Arabian Peninsula Union" or would it stay as it is?

Such a "project" will take many years to perfect and honestly, it probably has a 50/50 chance of succeeding. It would be be wise to not attempt uniting all of the Arab countries at once, rather sticking to specific regions and working from there.
 
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Jaanbaz

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They would probably be against it just like every other regional player and the same goes for any future plan of creating regional political blocs in the Arab world which ultimately could result in an united federal Arab world. But we should not care about them as this is a decision well within our reach. It depends on the people and you can only oppress the political will of a people for a certain period of time.
In my view a united Arabian peninsula would definitely crush dangerous terrorist organisations like IS. It would be a serious contender in the world. No matter how big ally USA is of KSA's they would never want a united Arabia.
 

Ahmed Jo

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Well the first phase should be a unified currency.... like euro... but if i am not wrong there was this suggestion of a single currency but the dispute arose between bahrain and dubai as to who will host the hq of the unified finacial center... the foreign policy is already unified except for qatar. and defence is also contracted to usa... so there u go foreign/finance and defence , the fundamentals of unification.

Next thing is a unified visa which already exists for locals, the can travel and get on arrival visa but such facilities are not extended to exapts of gcc who want to come to KSA cause of umrah and hajj issues....

if these things get sorted out than GU like EU is very much possible in next decade but will require a political will and some compromises to be made for the greater good of the region.
Actually, a unified currency should be the last phase not the first as we have learned from the EU experience.
 

Sher Shah Awan

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Don't think I'm trolling or anything but how are you going to control sectarian/ethnic/religious tensions? You can't get rid of these realities by just joining boundaries without a proper course of assimilation ?
 

al-Hasani

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How does the GCC function exactly? I mean how much control does it as an entity have over its member states? And would it be renamed to something like the "Arabian Peninsula Union" or would it stay as it is?

Such a "project" will take many years to perfect and honestly, it probably has a 50/50 chance of succeeding. It would be be wise to not attempt uniting all of the Arab countries, rather sticking to specific regions and working from there.
The GCC is first and foremost a regional political and economic union that is composed of sovereign nations. Nowadays it has evolved into a military union too as the member states militaries work closely together. See Peninsula Sheild Force for instance. Each country still retains its own national laws but for instance citizens of GCC countries can freely travel to other GCC states without a visa, live there, work there, own property there and there is also talk of a unified currency one day. Basically it resembles the EU on many fronts in the sense that European countries are getting more exposed to laws deriving from the EU for each year. The GCC is just much smaller and at another level. I think that the end goal is also to have rather similar laws.

Actually in the case of the GCC as it is I don't think that it will take many years. It would be more difficult if Yemen had to be included but only due to the current unrest there and the economic situation. I touched upon this subject in my post number 33 in this thread if you want to take a look.

In my view a united Arabian peninsula would definitely crush dangerous terrorist organisations like IS. It would be a serious contender in the world. No matter how big ally USA is of KSA's they would never want a united Arabia.
I have no doubt about that. Just imagine the immense natural riches that would come under the control of one single country with one single foreign policy etc. What if that country told the Americans that they are not allowed to have any military bases in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar anymore if that country's interests were allied more with those of China for instance?

Don't think I'm trolling or anything but how are you going to control sectarian/ethnic/religious tensions? You can't get rid of these realities by just joining boundaries without a proper course of assimilation ?
There is hardly any sectarianism outside of Yemen and much less so Bahrain. The issue of Arab Shias in Eastern Arabia should be dealt with intelligently and fair political demands should be met. Also you have to remember that a unification of the Arabian Peninsula into 1 big federal state could for instance first happen in 20-25 years time and by then the political situation of the ME might be entirely different than it is now. See some of my earlier posts in this thread.

For instance there is no sectarianism in Oman (despite is great diversity), UAE, Qatar, Kuwait or KSA (outside tiny areas of the Eastern Province and I am reluctant to even use the word "sectarianism" there). Yemen is not really sectarian either outside of the AQAP retards and some elements among the Houthi's. It's more tribal/regional/North/South divide/economical etc. Religion is secondary but exploited to the masses. It's nothing like what we see in Iraq and saw long before 2003 for instance.
 

Sher Shah Awan

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The GCC is first and foremost a regional political and economic union that is composed of sovereign nations. Nowadays it has evolved into a military union too as the member states militaries work closely together. See Peninsula Sheild Force for instance. Each country still retains its own national laws but for instance citizens of GCC countries can freely travel to other GCC states without a visa, live there, work there, own property there and there is also talk of a unified currency one day. Basically it resembles the EU on many fronts in the sense that European countries are getting more exposed to laws deriving from the EU for each year. The GCC is just much smaller and at another level. I think that the end goal is also to have rather similar laws.

Actually in the case of the GCC as it is I don't think that it will take many years. It would be more difficult if Yemen had to be included but only due to the current unrest there and the economic situation. I touched upon this subject in my post number 33 in this thread if you want to take a look.



I have no doubt about that. Just imagine the immense natural riches that would come under the control of one single country with one single foreign policy etc. What if that country told the Americans that they are not allowed to have any based in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar anymore if that countries interests were allied more with those of China for instance?



There is hardly any sectarianism outside of Yemen and much less so Bahrain. The issue of Arab Shias in Eastern Arabia should be dealt with intelligently and fair political demands should be met. Also you have to remember that a unification of the Arabian Peninsula into 1 big federal state could for instance first happen in 20-25 years time and by then the political situation of the ME might be entirely different than it is now. See some of my earlier posts in this thread.

For instance there is no sectarianism in Oman (despite is great diversity), UAE, Qatar, Kuwait or KSA (outside tiny areas of the Eastern Province and I am reluctant to even use the word "sectarianism" there). Yemen is not really sectarian either outside of the AQAP retards and some elements among the Houthi's. It's more tribal/regional/North/South divide/economical etc. Religion is secondary but exploited to the masses.
This is all good to hear, one last policy that I like clarification on. Do you want their to be like a right of return for people with arab ancestry, like the jews? I mean if they can prove it through some sort testing? Would you welcome arab descendants?
 

al-Hasani

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This is all good to hear, one last policy that I like clarification on. Do you want their to be like a right of return for people with arab ancestry, like the jews? I mean if they can prove it through some sort testing? Would you welcome arab descendants?
Well, they don't need to prove anything as we know that 400.000 Yemeni Jews alone live in Israel. If they would want to return to their ancestral lands of their forefathers and are willing to contribute and stay loyal I don't see why not? I think that religion and ethnicity will play a much lesser role in the region and world as a whole. We see it constantly in the world of today. In fact in KSA alone I have noticed it when it comes to issues such as clan, social status, skin color, ethnicity (Afro-Arabs are getting much less stigmatized than before and are a much more active part of the society despite there still being some trouble), religion etc. Eventually all this will change. Same goes with Pakistan and other Muslim and non-Muslim states.

For each year the world becomes more and more similar on almost every front. I don't see why that development should suddenly change.
 
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al-Hasani

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How many different ethnicities have you got and how do they get along?
Arabs are by far the biggest ethnicity. Then you have Afro-Arabs, people of Turkish (as in people from modern-day Turkey not any Central Asian states or Azerbaijan), people of various South Asian origins (mostly Baluch), people speaking Southern Semitic languages (native to Southern Arabia), people of South East Asian origin (mostly Indonesia and Malaysia), some people of Persian and Lur origin and then you also have people of European descent who are mostly descendants of slaves or traders that settled. Nowadays all of those identity is Arab, they speak Arabic and are not any different from the native people. Also many people in the Arabian Peninsula, especially people from the cities are of mixed origins if you look back a few decades. Yet their identity is the Arab one.

The Afro-Arabs come from all kind of backgrounds. Horn of Africa, Western Africa and areas South of Congo. Many have nothing to do with slavery but just settled on the Arabian Peninsula as it lies strategically between Africa, Europe and the remaining Asia and is surrounded by seas connecting the world. For instance Hijaz, due to the pilgrimage, was the "New York of the East" for centuries and you have basically people from all over the Muslim world that settled in Hijaz and who are now Saudi Arabian citizens.

Let alone the migrant population that is from diverse origins as well.

The issue is not so much about ethnicities but more about religious sects.
As I explained then that is not even an big issue really either. See post 40 in this thread.
 
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al-Hasani

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Let's put this very interesting thread to live again.

Will The EU And GCC Ever Come Close?

A EU-GCC Free Trade Agreement is highly beneficial but remains elusive, writes GCC-EU analyst Johann Weick.

By Johann Weick
January 7, 2014

Seeking improvement of bilateral trade and stability in one of the most strategic regions in the world, the EU began to develop relations with the GCC in the late 1980s with a EU-GCC Cooperation Agreement.

The mutually welcomed idea to sign a EU-GCC Free Trade Agreement providing progressive and reciprocal liberalisation of trade was expected to boost import and export, and offered chances in region-to-region cooperation.

Optimism over a deal-in-the-making had to be tempered every time it was expected that the long-awaited agreement was going to be concluded though.

GCC worries over the actual EU import duty level for jet fuel and the EU ending GCC assigned Generalized System of Preferences (GSP-rules), one of the lowest category of international trade rules permissible non-reciprocal trade preferences, have come to surface recently.

Bilateral Deal Blocked

In a period of economic and geopolitical re-alignment, countries and regional blocs have compelling reasons to seek and secure long-term preferential trade deals with partners who can guarantee them a steady supply of those goods which they themselves lack, or are unable to produce in self-sufficient quantities at a reasonable cost.

GCC states are short in foodstuffs but abundant in oil and natural-gas. EU member states remain, on the other hand, import dependent in terms of fossil fuels but have surpluses, and therefore export capacity in agricultural goods.

Talks over impediments to reciprocal market liberalisation have been subject to breakdowns though, with the GCC deciding to suspend the negotiations in 2008. Since then both parties, have, apart from a Joint Action Program in 2010, applied the brakes.

GCC states willing to retain the right to impose duties on their exports is not to the likening of the EU, which wants to be frank with an open discussion, even if there is difference in perspective, e.g. on popular participation in decision-making and human rights.

Despite negotiations on hold, trade thrives well. The 28-member state EU remains a significant trading-partner for the GCC, while the six nations large GCC still constitutes one of the top export markets of the EU.

EU exports include machinery, railway equipment, commercial aircraft, medical equipment, power generation plants and services, like engineering and education.

GCC exports are, on the other hand, apart from ship-loads of oil and natural-gas, limited to aluminium, petro-chemicals, port and facilities management and dates.

EU interests are, apart from seeking enhanced investment opportunities in GCC energy sectors, structured on taking a larger chunk of GCC tourism, telecom, transportation, construction, infrastructure, insurance and financial services markets.

GCC states, on the other hand, want the EU scrapping its six per cent import duty on aluminium along concessions on hydro-carbons, energy taxes and fuel distribution.

Benefits Other Than Trade

The EU and the GCC have vested interests in import/export, and accordingly have signed-up to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the international body which provides contractual obligations how governments should frame and implement their trade policies.

The passing and enforcement of domestic legislation to impose international standards related to WTO rules has implications for government policies in GCC states.

Moving away from guaranteed state employment and developing a flexible workforce for a diversified, competitive and modern economy capable to resist the downside of economic development are major challenges for GCC states.

From Western standards, GCC states are often viewed as undemocratic. It is, however, reasonable to say that the absolute, hereditary-ruled Gulf monarchies are responsibly run.

Stability and domestic calm have created economic confidence, attracting investments and businesses from both within and outside the GCC.

The road to economic diversification, international competitiveness, market liberalisation and the openness of the ever more economic and political interdependent world of today will put pressure on the entitlement economy GCC nationals have become accustomed to.

Finding viable government budget sources to eventually depleting revenues derived from oil and natural-gas exports means introduction of taxation systems, modifications in labor markets, like reductions in dependence on migrant labour and employability of ever more highly educated local populations, and cut-backs in subsidised utilities.

The EU should realise that GCC states are therefore not expected to let their oil/natural-gas, services, labour and investment markets become unrestricted.

GCC states are essentially not against conditionality, but oppose the idea of the EU holding the right to unilaterally suspend the EU-GCC Free Trade Agreement if it feels a violation on the GCC side on human rights.

A deal with the EU will acknowledge that their projects are taken seriously, and give the GCC states further status in the emerging multi-polar global political economy.

European companies will be able to root themselves more firmly in the Gulf once full ownership of businesses outside the designated free zones has become a reality.

The EU holds a considerable, unmatched expertise in regulatory reform related to customs unions, common markets and monetary integration, EU-styled concepts which have attracted GCC interest: a EU-GCC Free Trade Agreement is likely to assist GCC states in their drive to economic diversification, international competitiveness and other reforms.

The GCC, the economic and financial wealthy regional bloc on the Arabian-side of the Gulf, has come of age, and accordingly deserves more attention/priority in the external relations of the EU.

Johann Weick analyses GCC-EU relations and teaches EU policy in Brussels, Belgium and Dubai, UAE.

Will The EU And GCC Ever Come Close? - Gulf Business
 

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