The intra-GCC crises: mapping GCC fragmentation after 2011
Oxford University Press (OUP) for Royal Institute of International Affairs
Reason for embargo
Currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by OUP. 24 month embargo to be applied on publication
If shared security perceptions were the foundation of the GCC, 2011 might be analysed as the watershed year in which the GCC begun to fragment from within, as then the divergences between the countries’ security perceptions became markedly exacerbated. It is commonly held that the threat posed to their security by Iranian intent and, at times, actions forced the countries of the GCC to be more aligned. However, the opposite seems to be the case, with both the 2014 and 2017 intraGCC crises being manifestations of conflicting security perceptions formed across the GCC countries in and since 2011. Through an in-depth analysis of the events and of the subsequent reaction of the GCC governments in terms of discourse and foreign policy, we can distinguish between three different categories of conceptualization. While the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE perceived domestic protests as an intermestic threat – triggered by the intersection between the international and domestic levels - the leaders of Oman and Kuwait conceptualised their protests as a manageable domestic insecurity, rather than full-fledged externally orchestrated events, arguably because they did not perceive a direct danger to their stability and legitimacy. Finally it can be argued that the government of Qatar did not see any real danger in the protests but instead view them as an opportunity to expand Doha’s regional influence, arguably at Riyadh’s expense. Unpacking what are the fundamental factors shaping such perceptions today would be the key to finding the appropriate framework for analysing GCC security in the future
This is the author accepted manuscript.
Awaiting citation and DOI