The papers in this volume examine the history and future of the often fractious relationship between Iraq and the GCC countries. The backdrop is the US dominance of security arrangements in the Gulf region for most of the post-war period. Prior to the new millennium, the region’s major security threat was perceived to be the mounting rivalry between the GCC-US camp on the one hand and the Iranian camp on the other. Some semblance of equilibrium had been achieved through the late 1990s, but the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 created new fault lines. In the invasion’s aftermath, regional peace was maintained by the overwhelming presence of US troops both in Iraq and in the GCC more generally. There is a broad consensus among the contributions in this volume that a state of disequilibrium emerged in the wake of the 2011 withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The contributions are also in agreement over the need for a more inclusive and multilateral approach to regional security, and for any such approach to be spearheaded by the region’s principle stakeholders, i.e., Iraq, Iran and the GCC countries. This is partly out of necessity, since the global recession has affected the US ability to unilaterally enforce security in the region, and there are major doubts over the effectiveness of soft military units as a replacement for a hard military presence; and partly because the new socio-political forces unleashed by US military activity and the Arab Spring have altered the previous dynamics and denuded the suitability of the prevailing security arrangement. The contributions show much more discord over the precise nature of a potentially successful new common security strategy. Among the areas of contention is the extent of Iranian influence in Iraq: those perceiving it to be large regard it as a driver of regional sectarian polarization and therefore a barrier to the emergence of a common security strategy, while those dismissing it regard Iraq as a potential bridge between the GCC and Iranian camps. A closer examination of the process of constructing Iraq’s federal architecture post-2003 demonstrates the oftunderestimated complexity of Iraq’s ethno-sectarian composition and the subtlety required to forge lasting and productive relations between the GCC countries and Iraq. Certainly there remains much controversy over what Iraqi policies that reflect “the will of the Iraqi people”- a particularly nebulous concept - might look like. Frequent reference is made to the rising tide of sectarianism in the GCC countries themselves and how this has impeded the emergence of successful regional security cooperation. The Arab Spring and the advancing medium of the Internet have combined to open the political arena for previous depoliticized religious clerics, while raising the ceiling and widening the horizons (nationally and internationally) for those who were already engaged in the political process. Despite the recognized need for a common regional security strategy, the prospects for its emergence remain dim due in large part to questions pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program, persistent instability in the broader Middle East (especially Syria), and Obama’s posturing over “pivoting to Asia.” The overarching uncertainty means that the parties are yet to reach the point where they feel that they have no alternative to constructive rather than adversarial trips to the bargaining table.
|Editore||Gulf Research Centre Cambridge|
|Numero di pagine||195|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2014|
- gulf cooperation council
- post-war Iraq