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Title: The Gulf Cooperation Council: regional, institutional and legal development
Author: Al-Khalifa, Rana Isa Daij
ISNI:       0000 0001 3406 6065
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2008
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The question addressed in this study is whether the' Gulf Coopenition Council has real potential, intention or will to develop towards stronger forms of organization leading towards integration? What is the geo-politiCal. and i~stitutional space with~n ·which the organization may expand? The inst~tutional shape and geo-political range of the·· organization are at the heart of the ~dy. The form of the study is-theoretical and analytic, calling on social and political theory and principles of law as well as politics and economy in a conventional way. Theory of regional organizations and their formal legal . qualities are important to the study. Controlled comparison with the European CommunitylUnion is made. _ The GCC is founded· on cohering factors of culture and social system, developmental economy and shared security and strategic vulnerability. 'Rentier' socio-economy, 'oil, rent and welfare' underwrite the modem Gulf States. The Gulf Cooperation Council, as presently constituted, is primarily 'intergovernmental' in character. Sovereignties are established by and in law, but joining them regionally is 'highly political'. The Charter and the Unified Economic Agreement are the 'constitutive instruments' of the organization,· hence understanding the organization is a matter of politics and of law. A new Econom~c Agreement (2001) supersedes the UEA and creates greater integrative prospects. -'Cooperation', 'coordination' and 'integration' are declared modes ofpolicy and action in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Regional enterprise may be seen to be explicitly (in the ED) or implicitly (in the GCC) an integrative course. Intergovernmentalism is a notable aspect of the GCC. Pragmatism rather than theory or ideology informs the organization, but this leads to excessive caution and concession to Member States' sovereignties, and so inhibited integrative progress. The organization's accomplishments so far are believed to fall short of intentions and expectations so that-the issue of greater 'assured effectiveness' should be pursued. Elements of developmental integration are set out in the study. Functional linkage and progressive institutionalization are indicated. However, 'creative leadership' is vital in order to pass autonomous powers of decision-making, with 'direct effect' from the Member States to the organization. Institutionalization of powers of decision-making in and for the region and powers of enforcement follow ifthe Gulf regional organization is to be advanced as a truly effective, supervening body. At present the organization relies on the 'highest authority' of its principal decision-making organ, the Supreme Council' (Ministerial Council). The principles and practices of the traditional political-legal systems ofthe six Member States prevaiL However, 'competence' to decide is not power to have implemented. 'Dual' status of the Supreme Council is discussed. The·Supreme Council, constituted as 'meetings of heads of states' (,summits') exercising their 'full powers' as Rulers, does not have the status of a substantive corporate body. The regional system is dependent on the traditional legitimacy of the Rulers' and their 'highest authority'\ and so on 'trust' among them. But transfer by analogy to the regional organization does not work. The political theory ofconsensus, consent and trust is deployed. 'Leadership choice' (or 'preference') has not driven the organization clearly in the direction of integration. Agreements founded solely in conSent and consensus are not enforceable. What is compelling in principle does not lead to 'assured effectiveness' in practice. The GCe is not based on 'rule of law', and there is no juristic instrument. The Commission for the Settlement of Disputes is irrelevant. Regionally instituted 'commercial arbitration' represents a significant element of joint economic integrative progress. Difficulties in 'unifying law(s) in the Gulf region are remarked on. The Consultative Council has been constrained in fonn and function within the prevailing traditional political concepts and practice. Advantages of unification over a wider range of the Gulf area are more evident in theory than in practice. Structural and conceptual change in. the regional organization, new imbalances of size and power would be entailed. Whatever 'enlargement' might conceivably take place would bring involvement in new economic and strategic environments, at best of mixed, or of uncertain benefit. Would the Arabian Gulf region become not so much the core of a greater unification, but a hinterland of radically changed strategic scenarios and instabilities? This does not foreclose on alternative associative forms among would-be partners.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available