Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans to transform the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) into a formidable military alliance and even a unified state have run into opposition from Oman, but the kingdom is determined to try to go forward in any case. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud believes unity is strength, while many of his fellow monarchs fear it is a threat to their independence.
Abdullah promoted his son, Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, this year to be the first minister of the national guard, elevating command of the kingdom’s elite security force to the level of a ministry and placing his son in the cabinet. On Dec. 20, Mutaib announced that the GCC would create a 100,000-man strong force to defend the region in the next few years, a massive expansion of what has long been a token military unit. Mutaib also reiterated his father’s wish to have the GCC transform itself from a loose collection of independent states without even a common currency into a unified nation-state, presumably under the leadership of the House of Saud. A unified Gulf monarchy would be the only sure path to regional security and strength that Mutaib argued.