By Mousa Ahmad
KUWAIT, Dec 4 (KUNA) -- The thirty-year history of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has witnessed great achievements in various fields, which have reflected on the Gulf citizens and achieved their aspirations on all economic, political, military and security levels, and on the regional and international arenas.
Through these achievements, the Council has been able to form as a strong framework for collective security and a means to protect the achievements of its states and to address the threats it faces and to play an effective role in addressing of crises in the region.
On May 25, 1981, the will of the GCC leaders agreed in their meeting in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi to a consensus formula for cooperation between them which was one of the most important objectives of achieving coordination, integration and interdependence among the peoples of the GCC countries in all fields.
In the area of foreign policy, the GCC countries have agreed to adopt unified positions on political issues based on the principles of good neighborliness, non-interference in internal affairs, respect for the sovereignty of each country over its territory and resources, and the adoption of the principle of peaceful dialogue as a means of resolving disputes, a matter that has given the GCC more credibility as a vital international organization in this important region.
One of the most prominent achievements of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the field of foreign policy is participation in ending the Iran-Iraq War, liberating the State of Kuwait, supporting the unity, stability and sovereignty of Iraq, supporting the issue of the three occupied UAE islands, supporting the Palestinian cause, supporting the unity and stability of Yemen, as well as the situation in Lebanon and the Syrian crisis. Libyan aspirations and condemnation of the persecution of Muslim minorities in Myanmar were also a priority.
This was reflected in the strong positions taken by the GCC in defending the interests of its members and in confronting common threats facing the GCC states. This was also clearly reflected in the unification of the Gulf's rapid decision to sever and freeze relations with Iran in January 2016 in response to repeated Iranian attacks or involvement in the "Operation Decisive Storm" and the "Operation Restoring Hope" in March 2015 to deter the Tehran-backed Houthi expansion and prevent sabotage by the so-called Lebanese Hezbollah.
In the field of joint military action, the first meeting of the Chiefs of Staff of the GCC Armed Forces was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1981. It was the first to discuss the areas of military cooperation among GCC countries.
In November 1982, during the third session of the Supreme Council of the GCC States, the establishment of the 5,000-man Desert Shield Force was approved. In December 2005, the size of the force and the quality of its armament were extended to include a mechanized infantry battalion with its full equipment and artillery.
The adoption by GCC countries of the GCC Joint Defense Agreement during the Manama Summit in December 2000 is a strategic step in the process of military cooperation in the Gulf. This agreement paved the way for the emergence of major military cooperation structures such as the establishment of unified defense vision, unified military command, Gulf missile shield and bridging the capacity gap between GCC states by establishing a joint Gulf force for rapid intervention.
The agreement calls for strengthening security cooperation among the GCC states and for building trust in the defense forces and completing them to be at the forefront of the forces that defend the security of the Gulf states and oblige member states to defend any country which is under any threat..
It called for strengthening the security cooperation between the GCC countries and establishing confidence in the defense forces of the Peninsula Shield and completing them to become the first force to defend the security of the GCC states.
At the beginning of February 2003, Kuwait submitted a request to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) defense ministers to deploy units of the Peninsula shield on its territory in anticipation of any repercussions that could result from the United States directing a possible strike against Iraq.
The GCC countries also affirmed their full support for the Kingdom of Bahrain on the political, economic, security and defense spheres as a result of the events that took place during the months of February and March 2011 in order to maintain integrated collective security.
Due to the unfortunate events witnessed by the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom, as a member state of the GCC, requested the activation of the joint defense agreement and the GCC countries responded by sending the forces of Peninsula Shield in March 2011, which played a major role in confronting the attempts of chaos and sabotage and the return of security and stability.
In March 2015, the Operation Decisive Storm came to represent a shift in the Gulf's dealings with external threats based on decisive intervention. The failure of the GCC states in putting and to violations carried out by the Houthis and their failure to implement the Gulf initiative and the outcome of the national dialogue would cause serious repercussions on security of the GCC region.
The Operation Restoring Hope then came to ease the suffering of the Yemeni people and to begin reconstruction.
On the security domain, the meeting of GCC interior ministers in Riyadh in 1982 was considered a kick start for launching coordination and cooperation in the security sphere and formed as an integrated security strategy on the path of confronting terrorism.
In 2003, the GCC strategy on combating terrorism was endorsed.
In 2008, member states signed an agreement on ways of combating terrorism. They also signed an agreement on enhancing and modernizing the integrated GCC strategy.
In the media domain, the GCC has been able to reach numerous achievements in the foreign media, tv and radio programs and in the news agencies.
In the economic sphere, the bylaw of the establishment of the GCC formed as the first reference towards achieving an economic integration among the GCC states starting with the unified economic agreement in 2001, monetary union, unified currency, efforts of achieving the unified customs union and the establishment of a unified GCC market.
The GCC states have also coordinated efforts in the fields of Zakat (Alms giving), audit bureaus and other joint action in the fields of judiciaries and legal work.
The GCC member states also have strong belief in the cooperation in the fields of energy, electricity and water, industry, planning, transport, communications, statistics and developments.(end).