Expanding the GCC, balancing Iran and incorporating Palestine

Khairi Janbek
Khairi Janbek is a former private adviser to HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal. (Photo: Jordan News)
One is rather surprised that no one actually sees the great potential and important consequences of expanding the GCC. If the issue were taken seriously, it would be, as a matter of fact, tantamount to a massive tectonic shift in the future politics of the Middle East.اضافة اعلان

One is not going to sing praises of the obvious, that being, mainly, the advantages of the freedom of movement of people, goods and capital, in addition to the essential passage of gas and oil, but rather wishes to talk about the impact of the strategic concerns vis-à-vis, Iran as well as finding a viable and stable solution to the Palestinian problem; both aspects tend to be interconnected.

Now, one may or may not believe in the existence of the Shiite Crescent encircling the Gulf Arab states, but if one looks at the map of the region, one will see Iran to the eastern side of the Arab region and toward its western side, the dominance of Iran in Syria, via Iraq, in Lebanon through Hezbollah and at the other end, in Gaza, through the ambivalent Hamas.

This is a geo-strategic fact and not merely material provided for sectarian squabbles.

If Jordan and Morocco would join an expanded GCC, the Arab Gulf states would be able to break the Iran-dominated geographical envelope, and expand their geographical depth all the way to the Atlantic and to the south, bordering Israel. Therefore, this would actually bring in Israel, by necessity, as an party interested in protecting Arab oil, by virtue of the fact that it borders the GCC, and would bring in Morocco’s 32 million people as a population-balancing factor to Iran’s 70-80 million people.

When it comes to the Palestine-Israel peace issue, the most thorny factor is the question of the right of return, so if Palestine can become part of this expanded GCC arrangement, in or without association with Jordan, it would become a geographical political entity in itself, part of a larger geographical zone, with various populations, including Palestinians. In essence, in addition to the Palestinian being a Palestinian, he/she would be a citizen of the GCC.

But then again, of course, what about the Palestinians in refugee camps of diaspora?

Well, it would be logical to assume that they would be carriers of Palestinian nationality identity as the first transnational citizens of a country, which can provide them with the choice of staying in the countries that host them, in accordance with the laws and regulations of those countries, which may mean enjoying ad hoc economic and political rights, go back to the state of Palestine, associated or otherwise with Jordan, or go to a GCC country of the their choice, being of course GCC citizens.

In this context, Israel can no longer have the delusional excuse of its security concerns about the emergence of a Palestinian national state because, being itself a guarantor of the GCC oil security, being on its borders, it will be the beneficiary of the market of the block as well.

This writer is a former private adviser to HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal.

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