Skip to main content

Is the GCC dead?

Although Saudi Arabia has invited Qatar to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council summit Dec. 9, a resolution to the dispute between Doha and its Gulf neighbors seems far off, threatening the entire council with irrelevancy.
Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah gestures during a news conference with Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, following the annual summit of GCC, in Kuwait City, Kuwait, December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed - RC16BFA38D60

What can be expected from the annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit being held on Dec. 9 in Saudi Arabia? Many are wondering if, or how, this month’s summit will differ from the last one held a year ago in Kuwait. Although difficult to predict how the upcoming meeting will unfold, recent statements from Arab Gulf states’ officials indicate that neither side has the will to make major concessions, at least in the foreseeable future. To the contrary, the attitudes expressed by both sides suggest that the GCC crisis could last for a long time.

Earlier this month, shortly after Qatar announced its decision to exit OPEC effective Jan. 1, 2019, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa called the Qatar crisis “unprecedented and very deep.” He accused Doha of eliminating any hope of Qatar returning to the Saudi/Emirati-led bloc’s fold. Regarding the summit, he said the “dispute can’t be solved by just a hug. There must be a new agreement and new regime, and Doha should be placed under scrutiny.” Despite Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud inviting the emir of Qatar to the summit earlier this month, Manama’s chief diplomat affirmed that Qatar had burned its bridges with the GCC’s blockading states and Doha sending Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani or a low-level representative would make no difference.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.