Since its inception in 1981, a lack of political leadership has meant the GCC has largely failed to leverage the combined might of its six member states to gain a louder inter-national voice for this strategically vital region. This initiative shows it does not lack the capacity to act when all six states share a strong enough common concern.

 

Similar consensus on the region’s economic needs has led to the organisation making significant strides on the integration through regional infrastructure projects. After years of discussion, the GCC is pushing ahead with a regional railway and a Gulf electricity grid.

But it would be wrong to expect too much too soon. Plans to establish a GCC single currency by 2010 have stalled, with Oman abandoning the scheme and uncertainty hanging over Kuwait’s commitment to the project.

 

Disagreements are inevitable between six sovereign states. The nuclear initiative shows that the GCC can play a vital role in promoting regional concerns and, when it matters, six voices can shout much louder than one.

 

Index of all stories from MEED’s GCC special report