The Arab states of the Gulf suffer from a triad of weaknesses and vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities relate to areas of conduct, diplomacy and development - and pose a threat to their interests. Saudi Arabia proposed the idea of a ‘Gulf Union’ as a way to address these vulnerabilities. However, there are many obstacles that impede establishing the Union in a way that allows it to achieve its goal of addressing its weaknesses, ensuring security, and protecting its interests. The most challenging obstacles are dealing with the self-interest that pervades the ruling elite in the Gulf, the identification of the citizens of the Gulf, and their relationship to the authorities. The next challenge is to then establish the requisite institutions that ensure continuity and stability of the Union.
In this paper, we will try to address three main themes:
Background (with regards to the triad of vulnerabilities);
timing (is it the right time to raise the idea of a union); and
the implications of the Union (for the ruling elite, other spheres of authority, citizens and institutions of the Union.)