GCC to Include Monarchs Beyond Gulf?
On Tuesday, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) welcomed membership bids from Jordan and Morocco, apparently unfazed by the fact that neither is on the Persian Gulf. This appears to be an effort to undermine the already-weak Arab League – apparently the Gulf monarchies are uncomfortable with the possibility that the Arab League may soon include a moderately democratic government or two, so they’re looking to expand the GCC beyond the Gulf into a club exclusively for repressive monarchs across the entire Arab world. This is seen largely as an effort by the Gulf states to bolster other monarchies in the region economically. As an Egyptian friend commented to me, “The Saudis may as well create a dictatorship support fund.” This is only the latest sign that the Saudi-led GCC states aren’t content to merely deny the democratic aspirations of their own citizens, but they are determined to help other dictators across the Arab world do the same.