Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GULF STATES - You said "cooperation"?

The Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar] is celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of its founding in 1981. Everyone agrees that the Gulf countries, if not all Arab countries should unite in one form or another. Everyone agrees that the unit would be a source of power, would strengthen the economy and ensure a more prosperous life for the population.

That's the theory. However, in practice, it remains purely formal measures, or rather decoys. In thirty years, the GCC has failed to achieve even if a passport or a common currency [which had been scheduled yet for 2010 but has stumbled on political disagreements between Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates].

One reason for this failure lies in the fact that this construction does not depend on the will of the people and is not supported by democratic institutions. Instead, the GCC is the case of heads of state who decide among themselves as they see fit. Now the unit requires courage. It's a hard choice that involves the destiny of peoples.

The leaders are not only able to take a decision of this magnitude. The unit is based solely on an agreement between heads of state remains fragile. It suffices that one of them feels offended by any of his counterparts about a matter of protocol that everything collapses. The unity of the European Union, however, is the business of the people who express themselves freely and democratically through elected parliaments.

Even the European currency was not imposed by governments, but subject to a referendum, after extensive debate in society, after which some countries have adopted it, while others preferred to remain outside the euro. The European Union consists of twenty-seven countries, they speak twenty different languages and there are several religions and various Christian denominations.

Europeans have gone to war throughout history, the latest of which killed more than 50 million people, there is a little over half a century. Still, they managed to unite the will of the people. For the Gulf, the unity we want to, too, based on the will of peoples, speaking freely and democratically so that it is strong enough to achieve our aspirations.

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