Thesis Name: The gulf cooperation council: the uniqueness of omani role and the challenges of union transfomation

Researcher: Ahmed Zuhair Al Farsi

College: Economic and Political Science

Major: International Relations and Security Studies

Degree: Master

Adviser: Cuneyt Yenigun



For more than three decades, the Gulf cooperation Council (GCC) member states have been working together through a framework of cooperation in various fields. Despite the Council's abysmal performance during these three decades, there is still wide divergence on strategic stances and visions among the member states especially in the political and economic domains. This divergence reflects negatively on the level of achievements that should be tangible by the GCC citizens in order to reach the full Gulf citizenship with its all benefits and commitments. Amidst this divergence, Oman looks like the member that is clearly unique especially when it declared that it would withdraw from the Council if other members decided to go for union. Therefore, this thesis explores explanations for the reasons why Oman declared its potential withdrawal from the Council and what is the Omani vision of integration among GCC members. It also aims to clarify why it has been so difficult for the GCC members to transfer to the union level and how does the future of cooperation among the GCC states look like. These queries led the thesis to hypothesize that the cooperation model is more appropriate than the union model in order to reach a concrete integration among the GCC members and any attempt to transfer to the union stage can lead to more divergence between the six states. The thesis argues that Oman is more aware not to lose its identity and its historical legacy when it declared the withdrawal from the union project and preferred the model of cooperation with sincere intents rather than the union model. The GCC states could not transfer to the union stage since this idea is ambiguous and also due to the lack of political will of most GCC states except Bahrain which was affected by the Saudi pressure. This is in addition to other difficulties related to sovereignty issues and the preference of national interests over the collective ones. Thus, the cooperation model is expected to continue in the future since the GCC states have exceeded the no-return point with more convergence in security, economic and social fields and less in politics and in foreign policy.