Gulf state reforms include politics, security

Although the Gulf states have largely been spared the effects of the Arab Spring, they must work to reform and improve internal structures to enjoy success in foreign policy.

al-monitor A boy stands on the ruins of his school in Sanaa after it was bombed, March 23, 2014. Photo by REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi.

Topics covered

terrorism, security, reforms, politics, gulf states, foreign policy, arab spring

Mar 26, 2014

The change in the Gulf started from top to bottom. It came at the level of rulers, in a bid to serve individuals and society, unlike what happened in the Arab Spring countries. The consensus reached by Gulf states on fighting terrorism is a start to strengthening the concept and power of the state and restoring its prestige that nearly got kidnapped by careless and arrogant social groups through religious and social arguments.

There are three common factors between Arab Spring countries hit by terrorism: weakness of the concept of the state, dominance of a religious and sectarian discourse and the traditional character of regimes and social structure.

These factors have in turn led to the distraction and weakening of the loyalty to the state. They have also led to the disruption of development and to the growth of extremism. Therefore, Gulf rulers ought to take urgent actions on several interconnected axes: First, they have to correct the relationship between religion, the state and society, all the while putting religion on the right track. Second, they have to strengthen and immunize the state against local, regional and international variables. Third, they need to activate the participation of the community and its institutions and involve them in real development so that they keep pace with the developments experienced by the international community. Therefore, we present the following proposals:

In conclusion, the war on terrorism declared by the Gulf states is long, arduous and painstaking. It will have magnified aftershock tremors once extremism and violence have been controlled in the Arab Spring countries, and once jihadists have returned to an environment that embraces an extremist ideology of which only one facet has diminished. Therefore, the application of the above points will enable the Gulf to match foreign policy with internal security and continued development in a confused, troubled and unsafe local, regional and international world.

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