(MENAFN- The Peninsula) mohammed osman ali |
Doha: Qatar Press Center yesterday organised a seminar under the title“Regional, Global Challenges, Alliances and Their Implications on Gulf Security”.
Professor Dr. Abdullah Al-Shayji, Professor of Political Science at Kuwait University, was the sole speaker at the seminar.
The seminar was attended by a number of journalists, intellectuals, and editors-in-chief of local newspapers and broadcasters of TV channels.
Dr. Al-Shayji spoke about the current situation of the region and the nature of the existing political and military alliances, armies and their sizes. He described the Egyptian army as the largest and the strongest in the Middle East region, according to the twelve indicators of military strength.
He also talked about the experiences of the Gulf States and their endeavours to work together to ensure the security of the region and the establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as one of these attempts. The proposal put forward by the late Sultan Qaboos of Oman to establish a unified Gulf army of 100,000 soldiers failed because it did not gain support of the member states at the time.
Dr. Al-Shayji also highlighted some similar failed attempts saying:“After the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, a group of countries established the Damascus Declaration, which included six Gulf countries, Egypt and Syria, but this experiment also did not succeed.”
During the Obama administration, the US projected the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), which included the six Gulf states, Egypt and Jordan, to confront Iran and terrorist organisations.
However, he said, the proposal did not work because it appeared in complex political circumstances, where the Gulf countries were facing severe political differences and a well-known Gulf crisis was a result of these differences. He further added that the USA also put forward another initiative that mainly aimed to confront Iran, an issue the Gulf States did not agree on. The US administration also facilitated the Abraham Accords with Israel but Israel, he said, cannot be part of any security alliance in this region.
“Then appeared the Israel plus India (I + I ) UAE coalition but it was not feasible because it was not realistic,” Dr. Al-Shayji noted.
Dr. Al-Shayji shed a light on the attempts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and the signing of the Iran nuclear agreement that also failed because of President Trump's withdrawal from it.
He said that the presence of nuclear weapons, despite their danger, is a deterrent that cannot be used, and that is why their presence prevents the occurrence of major wars such as the first and second world wars.“Because everyone realises that using it is the end of the world and there will not be a survivor or a victor.”
Dr. Al-Shayji stressed that there is a shift in the US strategy, which has come to see China as the biggest threat to its interests, due to China's rapid and strong economic growth and along which its military power is rapidly growing.
He said:“After about 500 years of Columbus geographical discoveries, the political and military weight is shifting from the West to the Indo-Pacific region. Accordingly, the priorities of US and its allies are shifting and changed to confront the emerging new challenges.”
According to Dr. Al-Shayji, India is emerging as a giant power, because it has a huge economy and very soon will become the first country in the world in terms of population.
“India is constantly doubling its military expenditures and increasing its competition in outer space.”
In light of these realities, Dr. Al-Shayji believes that the Gulf States have great room to establish a strong strategic security alliance with US or superpower, or depend on military alliance, therefore the available option for Gulf States after the Al-Ula agreement, is the GCC to draw lessons from the recent Gulf crisis.
Dr. Al-Shayji called for Gulf security and defence coordination urging member countries to overcome their differences that hinder rapprochement and harming Gulf unity and resorting to dialogue in resolving intra-Gulf disputes.
“There must also be a Gulf early warning system, monitoring Gulf security risks and threats, exchanging security information, and possessing an advanced defence system, without relying on one party.”
Israel, he said, cannot be relied on to protect Gulf security.
He concluded his speech by saying:“It is not expected that America will leave the region, but we must take into account that America's priorities have changed and it no longer cares about oil and the fight against terrorism, because interests have shifted to the Near East, to face China and its allies in the region.”