International migration is one of the most ubiquitous realities in the Gulf states nowadays. In many ways, the inexhaustible availability of a foreign labour force has allowed the Gulf nations to become what they are today. Migration has been instrumental in nation-building processes in the Gulf. At the same time, the sheer scale of the phenomenon—with foreign majorities in the workforce as well as in total population of several states—is regarded as a challenge to nationhood. At the other end of the migratory routes, for many countries of origin in South Asia, the Arab world and East Africa, migration to the Gulf is an integral part of the lives of tens of millions and a constitutive element of economies and societies. Following an almost universal rule, host countries regard immigrants as a threat, while source countries view their emigrants as benefactors.
This overview of Bahrain’s regulatory framework of migration is intended to serve as a guide for researchers looking to navigate the set of laws and implementing regulations covering a broad range of migration-related issues from entry and exit conditions to rights and settlement, citizenship, and asylum.
The following note offers an overview of Saudi Arabia’s regulatory framework of migration. It serves as a guide to researchers looking to navigate the system of laws and implementing regulations covering a broad range of migration-related issues from entry/exit conditions to rights, settlement, and citizenship.
The objective of the paper is to draw a sketch of the population and migration dynamics of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), using the data available from federal and emirate-level statistical bureaus. In 2016, the total population of the UAE was estimated to be 9,121,167, thirty-two times the population counted in 1971, the year the country was established. The Emirate of Fujeirah had the smallest share of foreign nationals in its total population (61 per cent) while Dubai had the largest (91 per cent). Most expatriates were from Asia and especially from India: the India-UAE corridor could be the second largest in the world, and Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani expatriates outnumbered Emirati citizens around 2015. In the employed population, foreign nationals accounted for an even larger share (96 per cent of Dubai’s employed population in 2011). In 2016, federal and local governmental bodies employee figures were as follows: 78.5 per cent Emirati and a mere 6 per cent foreign nationals. Expatriates mostly worked in the private sector (73 per cent), while nationals accounted only for 8.3 per cent. Fifty-two per cent of female expatriates were employed in the domestic sector in 2016. Unlike in other GCC states, a quarter of the working expatriates in the UAE were in managerial posts, employed in a spectrum of activities across all sectors. The number of expatriates shot up during the 2000s, a period of spectacular economic growth propelled by soaring oil prices. Since the financial downturn in 2008, however, the economy has recovered and the hiring of foreign workers is resuming, stimulated by large-scale infrastructure projects, especially in Dubai. Nonetheless, reforms in immigration policies are now being undertaken, fuelled by security concerns, pressures from human rights’ protection bodies, and the need to bolster citizens’ employment (Emiratisation) and upskill the labour force to implement a knowledge-based economy in the country. To that end, the planned introduction of skills certification requirements for migrants by countries of destination is likely to have significant impact on the size and composition of future migration flows, migrants’ activities, and their expectations in terms of rights.
This paper is an assessment of the limitations of the electronic Wage Protection System (WPS) introduced in four of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. The widespread practice of withholding wages has led to the GCC states introducing a wage protection system where employers are required to make the payments to employees into their bank accounts to ensure an official record of payments that can be monitored.
The following explanatory note outlines the main legislative texts including laws, regulations and cabinet and ministerial decisions, which govern the inward migration of foreigners to the United Arab Emirates and some elements of the outward migration of Emirati citizens.
In a landmark decision by Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on September 26, 2017, a decree was issued allowing Saudi women to drive motor vehicles. In this short paper, we reflect on the possible impact of this decision on future domestic workers’ immigration trends.
In 2016, Qatar ranked first worldwide in terms of per capita GDP. This is due to its huge hydrocarbon reserves and to the small size of its resident population (2.5 million in June 2017). Exploiting the hydrocarbon resources and channelling them into ambitious development policies required massive imports of foreign labour.
The complex birth of the November 30th agreement within OPEC, and between the latter and some non-OPEC major oil exporters, was the salient oil market event of 2016. The agreement aims at limiting production and stabilizing the global oil market, with the hope that prices might increase somewhat, thus improving the distressed financial conditions of most oil exporting countries.
The GCC economies are at a crossroads. Following low oil prices in 2016, the countries need to accelerate structural reforms to diversify their economies away from hydrocarbons, boost the role of the private sector, and create jobs for their rapidly growing labor force. The envisaged economic transformation, as reflected in country diversification plans, will take time. Careful and steady implementation and prioritization will be key to success. All the GCC countries have issued vision statements over the last few years, which describe their development aspirations either for the medium or long term. These visions guide current and future policy actions necessary for countries to achieve their development goals. The period covered varies by country and timing. The vision documents are well-written and cover different aspects of growth, such as entrepreneurship, small and medium scale development, productivity, nationalization of the workforce, national populations with skilled human capital working in the private sector, and development of high-productivity industries and services based on high-skilled labor and competitiveness.
While the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have confronted numerous and diverse challenges with serious consequences in recent years, the year 2016 can be classified as one of the most challenging years so far. Not only were all GCC countries negatively impacted by the global oil price collapse, but serious political and security challenges and crises swept the region and its Arab geographic surroundings. Taken together, this severely restricted the GCC’s ability to deal with such challenges.
As the migrant crisis escalates at Europe’s borders, the Gulf States have been blamed for having offered “zero resettlement” to Syrian refugees. In response to these statements, some Gulf States claim that they have actually relaxed their entry and residency laws to accommodate sizeable numbers of Syrian nationals since the start of the conflict. The paper assesses these claims using statistics available from these countries, as well as declarations from official bodies released in the local press. It appears that, besides being major aid donors to Arab countries sheltering Syrian refugees, most Gulf States have passed various measures destined to facilitate the entry and stay of Syrians since 2011.
This paper studies the spatial and economic development of the Greater Salalah area in the southern governorate of Dhofar (Oman) in a conceptually well-informed manner referring to theories of post-modern urban development, especially of “globalized” cities, global and local fragmentation, post-modern urbanisation and characteristics of contemporary port cities.
There are important incentives for developing Gulf Arab countries’ relations with Eastern Europe. At the same time, there are significant potential obstacles for such relationships, chief among them being the lack of tradition in official interactions between the states of the two sub-regions. Furthermore, major academic research into this matter is also lacking. Therefore, in an effort to provide an introductory account of the relations between the Arab Gulf countries and Eastern Europe, this paper scrutinizes Bulgarian and Czech interactions with the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The status of bilateral relations is ascertained by reviewing the key areas of interaction, highlighting the main drivers behind them, and the main achievements and obstacles to the relationships. The analysis is focused on explicating the factors contributing to the observed outcomes, thus elucidating the main perceptions and considerations conducive to particular results. Besides its immediate empirical contribution, this study also contains ideas about the way in which relations between IR actors can be conceptualized.
Relations between the GCC states and China have intensified in recent years driven by rising trade ties and closer political consultations. With the GCC states diversifying their foreign relations, China and East Asia have become a focal point also due to question marks surrounding US policy towards the Gulf region. In this paper, the author looks in depth at the current Chinese thinking about its strategic position vis-à-vis with the Gulf, arguing that, in essence, both the US and China seek to support regional security as they benefit from the Gulf’s stability. Well aware of its strengths and limitations, China will focus on building up its competitiveness in the region rather than allowing the Gulf to become an arena of rising competition between itself and the US.
Over the last decade, Qatar has significantly revised its legal framework in a number of areas that are relevant to the issue of migration. The revision has led to the establishment of rules and regulations that better conform to international standards in areas such as labour rights and human trafficking. However, Qatar’s controversial kefala (sponsorship) system is still a source of concern. This note offers researchers a succinct outline and summary of Qatar’s legal framework on migration. The system of migration-related legislation in the State of Qatar includes the Constitution, international treaties concluded, national laws and by-laws.
As the world’s oil and gas prices decline, taxation of foreign workers’ remittances has increasingly become a potentially viable solution to address government budget deficits in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. With growing unemployment rates and labour shortages among local populations, the GCC governments have recently proposed legislative and, in some cases already introduced, economic measures to tax foreign workers’ remittances. Newly proposed tax measures on remittance outflows are often rationalised as critical stop-gap solutions to mitigate high government budget deficits and share costs in accessing state-subsidized public infrastructure and services. Yet, several GCC governments face a complex policy dilemma between balancing budget deficits and addressing high labour shortages and incentives in local labour markets. Thus, the key policy question is: how can GCC governments manage this emerging policy dilemma within their borders? This policy brief examines not only the recently suggested policy responses of various GCC governments but also their long-term potential implications on national labour markets and migrants and their families both in the destination and origin countries
The sponsorship system of the Arab Gulf countries comprises rules and regulations that tie the residence of a migrant worker to his/her sponsor in the country. This paper offers an in-depth examination of the legal framework of the sponsorship system of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. It looks at different aspects of the system starting with the requirement for sponsorship and ending with the rules on absconding and repatriation.
Irregular migration has great resonance in the Gulf, just as in the West. Migrants in irregular situation avoid state administrative procedures and so their numbers are unknown. The largest amnesty (Saudi Arabia 2013) would have affected more than 50 per cent of the migrants in the country. Irregular migration is by definition a breach of legislations that regulate the migrant’s status. It also results from contexts characterising some sending states, such as poverty, which forces nationals from these countries to move to more dynamic labour markets. Efforts must be made by countries of origin and destination to curtail irregular migration. In the Gulf States, this may be addressed in several ways: by improving the working and living conditions of foreign workers; by amending sponsorship rules; by granting citizenship to select categories of migrants; and by disentangling migration laws from labour laws. Initiatives in this regard have been taken by some countries and need to be strengthened in the future.
This study describes the history of the territorial dispute between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran over Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb, islands located in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz through which 40 percent of the world’s oil and most of the oil from the Gulf region passes. The paper discusses the status of the three islands during the pre-colonial, British colonial, and post-colonial periods. Of particular note is Great Britain’s role in the Gulf and how it shaped the development of the claims of Iran and the emirates of Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah over the three disputed islands. The paper also examines the Iranian and UAE legal perspectives concerning the islands in order to get a better understanding of why Iran has consistently refused to submit the case to the International Court of Justice.
As of May 27, 2015, estimates of Oman’s total population stood at 4,187,516 persons, of whom 1,849,412 (44.2 per cent) were foreign nationals. Foreign workers are overwhelmingly from the Asian subcontinent: Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis together made up 87 per cent of the workforce in 2013. Eighty-two per cent of all foreign workers were employed in the private sector that year, and 12 per cent were filling managerial and “white collar” posts. The flow of foreign workers to Oman has been rising over the 2000s up till today. Lagging youth employment and rising poverty levels spurred popular protests in 2011 which slowed down economic diversification and the private sector’s development process. However, sectoral Omanisation quotas are now enforced and the hiring of Omani nationals in every business has become mandatory. Aggressive measures also target foreign residents in irregular situation which has led to several massive amnesty and deportation campaigns since 2010.
This paper examines the Gulf Arab countries’ foreign and security policies in the immediate aftermath of the Arab uprisings (until mid-2014) and compares them to the policies of the US and the EU. Building on a detailed outline of the different facets of power and a comparison with the respective actor’s capabilities in the aftermath of World War I, it argues that, relatively speaking, the power of the Western actors has declined, while that of the Gulf Arab players has increased. The analysis lays out the factors that have contributed to this outcome. Analytically, the paper engages with the concept of power but starts from the perspective of the entities that experience the exercise of power. This allows the author to develop the investigation using traditional power measurements, while simultaneously avoiding a Western-centered viewpoint. Thus, a sense of agency for the Middle East and, more specifically, the Gulf Arab region is restored.
The concept of sustainable development first presented in the Brundtland Report in 1987 underlined the simultaneous and mutually reinforcing pursuit of economic growth, environmental improvement, as well as global and social equity together with an emphasis on global distribution. It marked the start of a new phase in the hitherto antagonistic environment-economy relationship based on the recognition that ecosystem degradation and global warming pose serious threats both for poverty reduction and development. During the 1990s, sustainable development became the predominant feature of the environmental discourse, underlying global, supranational, national, regional, and local environmental policy strategies. A key implication of the interdependence of environmental-development goals as outlined in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) Scenario Report emphasizes the need for a meaningful integration of environmental sustainability concerns in national development plans and strategies of individual donors and inter-governmental development agencies. In addition, there is also the need for closer coordination between multilateral environmental agreements and other international institutions in the development policy sphere. It is necessary to understand the forces that will determine environmental change as well as to choose a set of environmental policies that will move us toward a sustainable future. This, in turn, needs a better understanding of social institutions, and ecological and economic processes. After an extensive analysis of these issues, this paper presents steps that the GCC could take in framing the right environment policies.
This overview of Oman’s regulatory framework of migration is intended to serve as a guide for researchers looking to navigate the set of laws and implementing regulations covering a broad range of migration-related issues from entry and exit conditions to rights and settlement, citizenship, and asylum.
The objective of the paper is to draw a sketch of UAE’s population and migration dynamics, using the scarce data available from the federal and emirate level statistical bureaus. In 2010, expatriates in the UAE were estimated to number 7,316,073 persons, twenty times the 1975’s figure of 356,343. Foreign nationals thus made up 88.5 per cent of the country’s total population; most were believed to come from Asia and especially from India. In the employed population, foreign nationals accounted for an even larger share (96 per cent of the Dubai’s employed population in 2011). Non-Emiratis comprised 40 per cent of the UAE’s public sector’s workforce in 2013, but as much as 99.5 per cent of those employed in the private sector. Unlike in other GCC states, a quarter of working expatriates were in managerial posts, employed across all activities’ spectrum. Expatriates’ demographic expansion mounted during the 2000s, a period of spectacular economic growth fuelled by soaring oil prices. Since 2008’s financial downturn, however, the economy recovered and the hiring of foreign workers has resumed, stimulated by large-scale projects such as Dubai’s Expo 2020. Nonetheless, reforms in immigration policies are now undertaken, fuelled by security concerns and pressures from human rights’ protection bodies. The reality of some expatriates’ settlement is also witnessed in numbers (expatriate children aged 0-14 outnumbered Emirati children already in 2005), while mixed marriages are acknowledged in policies: some naturalisations of children of Emirati mothers have been performed since 2011.
Mid-2013, estimates of Bahrain’s population stood at 1,253,191 persons, of whom 638,361 (51 per cent) were foreign nationals. Most were from Asia (85 per cent) and especially from India (half of all foreign residents). Eighty per cent of expatriates are employed. They account for 77 per cent of the employed population and 81 per cent of the private sector’s workforce. Asians are overwhelmingly involved in services and “blue collar” occupations, while Arabs more often fill managerial posts. Immigration flows to the Kingdom increased significantly over the 2000s, fuelled by high oil prices and the ensuing boom in the construction and services sectors. This demonstrates the difficulty to reconcile labour reforms, and especially, the Bahrainisation of the work force, with the maximisation of economic productivity.
The following explanatory note outlines the main legislative texts including laws, regulations, and cabinet and ministerial decisions, which govern the inward migration of foreigners to the United Arab Emirates and some elements of the outward migration of Emirati citizens.
This paper presents a project wherein invitations were randomly assigned to a savings-focused financial literacy workshop for married migrant Indian workers in Qatar on work contracts. Via surveys of migrants as well as their wives remaining behind in India, the paper provides a unique window into financial decision-making in transnational households. Migrants with low savings are most responsive, increasing their own savings and the remittances sent to their wives. They are also more likely to engage in joint decision making on money matters with spouses back home. From a practical standpoint, these results suggest that financial literacy interventions have a real potential to change migrant financial behaviors and are particularly relevant for temporary migrants in aiding them to maximize the accumulation of savings during their period of stay abroad.
The paper addresses the historical and institutional background of labour management policies in Saudi Arabia. It envisages it as a long-term, structural impediment to the successful and rapid implementation of Saudization (localisation) of the labour force in the Kingdom. The paper thus emphasises the socio-political stakes and challenges to localisation of the labour force and, more generally, economic and labour reform in the Gulf States. Since the onset of the Arab uprisings, however, unemployment among Saudis, and especially women, has become a burning political issue. Governmental actors had no choice but to attempt to regain control over the economy and the management of the labour market. In September 2011, in spite of a spurt in foreign labour recruitment since the mid-2000s, a voluntary policy called “Nitaqat” aiming to “Saudize” the Kingdom’s workforce was enacted. This paper reviews its characteristics and points to its all-encompassing design as it addresses the socio-political context of Saudization and therefore is more likely to have a lasting effect than previous workforce localisation initiatives.
For the past 14 years, Saudi Arabia has been struggling to reduce its dependence on foreign labour and increase the participation of Saudi nationals in the private sector. Policies of Saudization adopted in the last twenty years have not achieved what they set out to do, falling far short in combating unemployment, accommodating the increasing numbers of Saudi job seekers, and decreasing dependence on foreign labour. This explanatory note discusses the latest Saudization scheme “Nitaqat” and evaluates it as a national policy. The note addresses three dimensions: Output of the programme, mainly planned and implemented activities; Outcome or what the policy achieved (intermediate policy results); and finally, the Objective of the programme, i.e., the general impact the policy might have in the long run.
This overview of Bahrain’s regulatory framework of migration is intended to serve as a guidefor researchers looking to navigate the set of laws and implementing regulations covering a broad rangeof migration-related issues from entry and exit conditions to rights and settlement, citizenship, andasylum.
This paper provides an overview and evaluation of ethnography’s contribution to our understandings of labor migration to the Gulf States of the Arabian Peninsula. It posits ethnographic research as a complementary research method that helps discern complexities and relations that can be quantitatively explored, but also suggests that ethnographic research has distilled a set of themes and issues that are best ascertained and pursued with qualitative methods. Based largely on the author’s own research agenda and experience, this paper focuses on four primary ethnographic themes that thread through more than a decade of work: theorizing and framing the kafala, labour migration as an industry, migration and structural violence, and the household basis of labour migration.
During the quarter century since the rentier state theory was first articulated, a great deal has changed in respect to the economies of the energy-producing countries of the Gulf. They have not only grown much richer but also adopted sophisticated means for governing their finances and have become significant players in global financial markets. Moreover, they have begun planning for the time when they would run out of hydrocarbon reserves by directing, like Norway, a significant portion of their rents into Sovereign Wealth Funds. Connected to all continents from its several hubs and boasting some of the largest airlines in the world, the Gulf is no longer at the periphery but constitutes one of the significant centers at the global crossroads. After these tremendous changes, however, do the energy-producing states of the Gulf region still remain as rentier states? This paper examines whether the rentier state exists today according to the criteria formulated by Hazem Beblawi and Giacomo Luciani some 25 years ago and whether it is possible to sharpen the definition of the rentier state with the benefit of hindsight.
The Arab uprisings which started in early 2011 from the Maghreb to the Mashreq have rightfully provoked an incredible burgeoning of research projects and fueled existing ones with new energy. Among the issues the so-called “Arab Spring” has put the focus on is the question of its impact on the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).Narrowing the focus to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the international research community faced two main questions. First, would the wave of Arab uprisings submerge the Kingdom or stop on its shores? Second, it appeared that Saudi Arabia had proven rather resilient to the regional disturbances, but how could one analyze its response to the ambient disorder? This paper aims at answering the latter question.
In 2013, Qatar ranked second worldwide in terms of per capita GDP. This is due to its huge endowment in hydrocarbons and the small size of its national population, the smallest in all GCC countries. Exploiting the resources and channeling them into ambitious development policies required massive imports of foreign labour. The country’s total population has quintupled since the mid 1980s; moreover, foreign nationals made an estimated 85.7 per cent of all residents and up to 94.1 per cent of all employed population in 2013. The awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar in December 2010 turned the spotlight on the country’s dilemma regarding the “number vs. rights trade off ” issue: Qatar has one of the most constraining kafala systems in the region. Paradoxically, however, demographic data also indicate that a growing share of foreigners live with their families, give birth in the country, and intermarry with Qataris. The strict separation between nationals and migrants could thus start slowly eroding.
For many decades, the energy industry, particularly oil and gas, has been the mainstay of the GCC countries. Presently, the GCC is home to 81 percent and 25 percent of the world’s oil and gas reserves, respectively. The National Oil Companies (NOCs) have invested in infrastructure development for exploration, production, refining, and distribution of crude oil and natural gas. Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques have helped sustain oil production. However, GCC countries such as Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Oman have been experiencing severe shortages of conventional natural gas and rely on Qatar to meet their peak summer demands. In the downstream industry, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have focused on developing the petrochemical industry. Other GCC countries have followed similar strategies. This paper outlines the challenges facing the oil and gas industry. A SWOT assessment of the GCC’s oil and gas industry is presented and key recommendations in the form of opportunities for the oil and gas industry are outlined. This is particularly aimed at political decision makers and energy industry executives. In conclusion, the future research prospects stemming from this study are laid out.
The GCC countries have positioned themselves as the highest remitters in the world, collectively beating the United States, the traditional top remitter. The aggregate official remittance outflows from the Gulf region crossed the $75 billion mark in 2012 which is 50 per cent larger than the amount remitted from the United States for the same year. Remittance literature is large but mainly focused on remittance inflows. This paper summarizes the existing literature on remittance outflows. We use the literature findings to discuss the story of remittance outflows from the GCC countries. Remittance outflows in the region have been linked to local labor policies which determine the source of foreign labor. We explore the potential role of remittance outflows in the local economies and the receiving home countries.
The sponsorship system of the Arab Gulf countries comprises rules and regulations that tie the residence of a migrant worker to his/her sponsor in the country. This paper offers an in-depth examination of the legal framework of the sponsorship system of three countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. The paper looks at different aspects of the system starting with the requirement for sponsorship and ending with the rules on absconding and repatriation.
This paper challenges the widespread assertion that the Saudi reaction to the developments related to the Arab Spring has been purely counterrevolutionary in nature. While it is true that Riyadh has been supporting the monarchical regimes in Bahrain and Oman and backed the Mubarak regime in Egypt right until its fall, the Kingdom supported the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya and, after initial hesitation, also became a strong supporter of the anti-regime forces in Syria. The Saudi reaction to the Arab Spring has been dynamic in nature and differed from one state to another. The Saudi bolstering of the political status quo and regime stability in some states, support of revolutionary forces in others, and interference in post-revolutionary processes yet elsewhere, may ostensibly be a contradiction but is in fact the result of a coherent strategy. Riyadh’s reaction to protests, revolts, and revolutions in the Arab states has been strategic keeping in view the perceived challenges and opportunities these developments posed to itsmain policy interests: regime security; regional stability; and the containment, and ideally the rollback, of Iranian regional influence. In this context, the decisive factors are geographic proximity, the nature of the concerned state’s political system, and the quality of the particular regime’s relations with Saudi Arabia and its main opponent, Iran. On the domestic level, Riyadh reacted to popular protests by using its traditional strategy of buying domestic peace; however, it did not conduct any meaningful political reforms and took tough action against protests in the Eastern Province. However, as the majority of protesters did not seek regime change, Riyadh’s reaction cannot be labeled counterrevolutionary.
Currently, the Saudi Arabian government, through the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), offers an investor-class visa to facilitate and encourage foreign investment in the country. However, while many countries offer similar investment based visas as a pathway to permanent residency and eventual citizenship as a selling point to foreign investors, the Saudi Arabian investment class visa offers only limited residency (through a residency permit known as an iqama). This note examines the unique aspects of this immigrant visa class.
Gaps in labour rights and labour prices between nationals and migrant workers are the main causes explaining the low participation of GCC citizens in the region’s private labour markets. Past policies of “Gulfization” have not directly addressed these structural constraints but have rather attempted to impose higher nationalization quotas by fiat, with limited success. More recently, some of the Gulf governments have started to use taxes and subsidies to try to narrow the labour price gap; at the same time, some have improved the labour mobility rights of foreigners. This paper provides a preliminary assessment of these “second generation” policies. It concludes with general observations on how the rights and price gaps could be closed more systematically and on the broader distributional reforms this might entail.
This paper presents an overview of the labour market for migrant domestic workers in the Gulf Co-operation (GCC) countries. It discusses how current recruitment practices and working conditions contribute to the vulnerability of these workers to exploitation and abuse. The paper shows that although international conventions of the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation could provide frameworks for improved national legislation to protect the rights of domestic workers, GCC countries appear reluctant to ratify or implement conventions specific to migrant workers or domestic workers. Public pressure has led to alternative national legislation in some GCC countries, which is an improvement from a situation of limited or no legislative protection for MDWs; however there are several gaps that render this legislation weak. The paper concludes with policy recommendations to ensure more robust protection is extended to MDWs in the GCC.
This paper addresses a neglected area in studies of migrant labor in the Gulf States showing that exploitation of migrant workers occurs before deployment. Evidence from interviews conducted in the five major labour sending countries to Qatar (Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India) suggests that the recruitment procedures and corrupt practices by recruitment agencies and employing company personnel in the receiving country place unskilled workers in a highly vulnerable position prior to departure from their home countries. As a consequence of practices such as deception, false promises, substitute contracts, bribery, and extortion, there is evidence of debt bondage, forced labor, and trafficking within the normative framework of labor migration. Reform measures that are currently underway in Qatar include the banning of workers paying recruitment fees and charges to agents.
A comparison for 1995, 2005, and 2011 reveals large discrepancies in the two main sources of population data, the censuses and the civil registration system. Possible reasons and implications of the observed discrepancies are discussed, and suggestions are made for actions and policies that might help improve data quality. This analysis suggests that the numbers recorded by the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) are likely to be relatively more reliable and valid than the census. However, a conclusive statement about this requires additional objective analysis. A system of post-enumeration sample surveys may be established as a usual mechanism for checking the accuracy of census data. Also, special studies designed to ensure the accuracy of PACI data should be conducted periodically.
The Gulf Labour Market and Migration (GLMM) programme publishes its third paper: “Kuwait’s Legal Framework of Migration” by Maysa Zahra. The paper gives a detailed most up-to-date overview of the legal dimension of migration to Kuwait. The note offers an overview of Kuwait’s regulatory framework of migration. It serves as a guide to researchers looking to navigate the system of laws and implementing regulations covering a broad range of migration-related issues from entry and exit conditions to rights and settlement and citizenship and asylum. The GLMM programme produces an array of publications addressing all major issues in different formats. Initially, it focuses on Facts Sheets, Explanatory Notes and Conference Papers. Subsequently, it will add Research Papers, Policy Briefs, Academic Publications as well as Proceedings & Reports. GLMM is an international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC - Florence) and the Gulf Research Center (GRC - Jeddah, Geneva, Cambridge, Tokyo). GLMM provides data, analyses, and recommendations aiming at a better understanding and improved management of Gulf labour markets and migration, engaging with and respecting the viewpoints of all stakeholders. GLMM intends to become an indispensable tool for researchers, students, policymakers, advocates and migrants in, as well as nationals of the GCC countries.
The Gulf Labour Market and Migration (GLMM) programme publishes its fourth paper: “Saudi Arabia’s Legal Framework of Migration” by Maysa Zahra. The paper gives a detailed most up-to-date overview of the legal dimension of migration to Saudi Arabia. The note offers an overview of Saudi Arabia’s regulatory framework of migration. It serves as a guide to researchers looking to navigate the system of laws and implementing regulations covering a broad range of migration-related issues from entry/exit conditions to rights, settlement, and citizenship. The GLMM programme produces an array of publications addressing all major issues in different formats. Initially, it focuses on Facts Sheets, Explanatory Notes and Conference Papers. Subsequently, it will add Research Papers, Policy Briefs, Academic Publications as well as Proceedings & Reports. GLMM is an international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC - Florence) and the Gulf Research Center (GRC - Jeddah, Geneva, Cambridge, Tokyo). GLMM provides data, analyses, and recommendations aiming at a better understanding and improved management of Gulf labour markets and migration, engaging with and respecting the viewpoints of all stakeholders. GLMM intends to become an indispensable tool for researchers, students, policymakers, advocates and migrants in, as well as nationals of the GCC countries
The Gulf Labour Market and Migration (GLMM) programme publishes its second paper: “Qatar’s Legal Framework of Migration” by Maysa Zahra. The paper gives a detailed most up-to-date overview of the legal dimension of migration to Qatar. Over the last decade, Qatar has significantly revised its legal framework in a number of areas that are relevant to the issue of migration. The revision has led to the establishment of rules and regulations that better conform to international standards in areas such as labour rights and human trafficking. However, Qatar’s controversial kefala (sponsorship) system is still a source of concern. This note offers researchers a succinct outline and summary of Qatar’s legal framework on migration. The system of migration-related legislation in the State of Qatar includes the Constitution, international treaties concluded, national laws and by-laws. The GLMM programme produces an array of publications addressing all major issues in different formats. Initially, it focuses on Facts Sheets, Explanatory Notes and Conference Papers. Subsequently, it will add Research Papers, Policy Briefs, Academic Publications as well as Proceedings & Reports. GLMM is an international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC - Florence) and the Gulf Research Center (GRC - Jeddah, Geneva, Cambridge, Tokyo). GLMM provides data, analyses, and recommendations aiming at a better understanding and improved management of Gulf labour markets and migration, engaging with and respecting the viewpoints of all stakeholders. GLMM intends to become an indispensable tool for researchers, students, policymakers, advocates and migrants in, as well as nationals of the GCC countries.
The Gulf Labour Market and Migration (GLMM) programme publishes its first paper: “The Demographic and Economic Framework of Migration in Kuwait” by Francoise De Bel-Air. The paper gives a detailed most up-to-date overview using the latest national Kuwaiti statistics. As of December 2012, 68 percent of residents in Kuwait were expatriates. Most come from Asia and especially from India (30 percent of all foreign residents). Three-quarters of expatriates are active. They account for 83 percent of the total active population and 93 percent of the private sector’s workforce. Asians are mainly involved in the services and craft sectors, while Arabs more often fill managerial posts. Recent flows suggest a shift in recruitment policies towards upgrading the workforce’s level of qualifications and occupations. Data also show the extent of forced migration from Kuwait: 400,000 Arabs, most of them of Palestinian origin, were forced to flee the country after the First Gulf War. Also, Kuwait’s stateless residents (the Bidun) have been compelled to emigrate since 1985, while those still in the country are considered illegal residents. The GLMM programme produces an array of publications addressing all major issues in different formats. Initially, it focuses on Facts Sheets, Explanatory Notes and Conference Papers. Subsequently, it will add Research Papers, Policy Briefs, Academic Publications as well as Proceedings & Reports. GLMM is an international independent, non-partisan, non-profit joint programme of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC - Florence) and the Gulf Research Center (GRC - Jeddah, Geneva, Cambridge, Tokyo). GLMM provides data, analyses, and recommendations aiming at a better understanding and improved management of Gulf labour markets and migration, engaging with and respecting the viewpoints of all stakeholders. GLMM intends to become an indispensable tool for researchers, students, policymakers, advocates and migrants in, as well as nationals of the GCC countries.
The study focuses on how piracy in Somalia has evolved from a spontaneous act of protest by local Somali fishermen into a professional and highly-organized business venture. The study traces the shifting of piracy operations from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Mogadishu, linking the change in the theater of operation with the internal situation in Somalia and developments around the Horn of Africa. Further, the study looks at the operational aspect and analyzes the steps that are involved in any piracy operation including the selection of maritime targets, hijacking and securing ships and hostages, as well as the techniques of ransom negotiations.
The scarcity of water resources and increasing gap between demand and available supply of water in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is a major challenge facing the development sectors. GCC countries have an extremely dry climate with rare rainfall, high evaporation rates and limited non-renewable groundwater resources. At present, all GCC countries, except Oman, fall in the critical water scarcity category. In addition, subsidies and other incentives offered by governments with the aim of increasing the level of food self-sufficiency have contributed to unrestricted use of non renewable groundwater resources. This coupled with a lack of clear policies geared toward optimizing and managing the scarce water supplies within the GCC region has contributed to wasteful and uneconomic practices, as well as to the inefficient mining of non-renewable supplies. However, in recent years, all GCC countries have made substantial progress in their respective campaigns for water resources management, especially in the area of development of non-conventional water resources. Increased collaboration is urgently required in order to satisfactorily implement the numerous action plans that have been envisaged as part of the water resources policies of GCC countries.
The phenomenon of climate change and its impact on environmental systems is one of the major global problems that has drawn the attention of scientists for half a century or so. Studies indicate that human activities, including burning of fossil fuel and changes in the use of land, are responsible for rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Although the contribution of GCC states to global warming is quite small (not more than 1 percent), the fragile environmental systems of these states, the social services they provide, and their biodiversity will definitely be affected by this phenomenon. This is in addition to the possible impact of climatic changes both on public health and the economies of GCC states. This study presents the reasons for and impact of climate change. It provides an environment-based assessment of this phenomenon in GCC states, using the DPSIR framework. Based on an analysis of the major Gulf environmental systems that could be affected by climate change, the study proposes a structure for potential policies to ameliorate such effects and adapt to them, in addition to a strategy for advancing environmental awareness. The study recommends the formation of a joint GCC commission to monitor the impact of climate change on the Gulf States. The author calls for more in-depth studies to explore the environmental and socio-economic impact of climate change. Also, the study stresses the need for public awareness programs to promote the role of the community in understanding the various aspects of climate change and their potential impact on the Gulf region as a whole. It also calls for training of a professional cadre in the field of environmental sciences to deal with these issues.
Charting a course to rapid development, the GCC states are laying increasing emphasis on the expansion of education systems and giving society better educational opportunities. This paper provides an overview of the education scenario in the GCC states. It throws light on the educational institutions in the region, the curricula offered, as well as the policies adopted by the governments to further education. The paper also details the teaching methods and techniques used in the different countries of the region. It traces the beginnings of educational systems in the GCC states and the progress that has been made over the years.
This paper presents a new approach to EU-GCC relations. It is based on a European perspective on the major political and economic developments taking place within the GCC and Iraq. Additionally, it delineates the issues in the relations between the two sides on which there could be more focus. The paper deals with the major aspects of democratization and political reforms in the GCC States, the post-war reconstruction of Iraq, as well as the process of economic growth in this region and the promotion of the role of the private sector as the main driver of development and economic liberalization. It also emphasizes the role of the Gulf commercial bourgeoisie in carrying out these economic activities within the different countries of the region and the Arab World in general. This is quite important a role for initiating the required political change in the future. Also, the paper looks at the most important themes in the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the GCC, including political and security issues, in addition to those of good governance, human rights, human resources and education, trade and investment, oil and gas supplies, stock exchange and financial markets.
The US made concerted efforts in the UN Security Council to provide a legitimate cover to its attempts to control the resources of Iraq. However, having failed in its efforts, it led a coalition of some of its allies, and invaded Iraq. After the invasion, US occupation forces were faced with two major problems. First, they had no clear-cut strategy for controlling the post-war situation in Iraq. This was especially the case in the wake of the disbandment of the former Iraqi Army and security forces and the opening of unmonitored borders with neighbouring countries. This led to widespread chaos in the political and security arenas. The second problem was the outbreak of insurgency which took different forms, including both armed and civil resistance to US occupation. Elements of Arab nationalist, Islamic militants and nationalistic Iraqis joined the various insurgency groups, and made it quite difficult for the US to carry out its aims. Having failed to crush the insurgency, the US made attempts to regionalize and internationalize the security of Iraq by various ways and means. These efforts culminated in the holding of the Sharm Al-Shaikh conference to prevent neighboring countries, especially Iran, from interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs, in addition to enhancing control over Iraq’s borders to prevent infiltration by potential foreign combatants.
The decision by the US occupation authorities in Iraq to disband the Iraqi Army had serious consequences for the country. Despite frequent warnings by reputed US think tanks that the reconstruction of Iraq could not be achieved in the absence of security and proper control over borders with neighboring countries, the US occupation forces ignored the warnings and with a stroke of a pen, the Iraqi Army personnel were discharged. One of the major consequences of the disbandment of the Iraqi Army was the transformation of what used to be a strong and capable army into one of unemployed soldiers. Also, the US occupation authorities in Iraq lost control over the former Iraqi army’s huge stocks of weaponry. In addition, the decision to disband the army led to loss of control over borders with neighboring countries, outbreak of insurgency, spread of organized crime, social degeneration, and deep hatred towards the US. Further, it severely affected social services as well as trade, and led to a serious decline in Iraqi national income.
Small scale industries have drawn the interest of scholars, organizations as well as governments, due to their vital importance and contribution to the progress of the national economy. These industries solve many social ailments and economic problems; chief among them is the problem of unemployment. Iraqi small scale industries have contributed to the development of many sectors; however, the scale of production was not sufficient enough to meet the demand of Iraqi consumers. The nature of the challenges faced by these industries, which almost put some of them on the verge of bankruptcy and total closure, posed a huge economic burden for these industries that led them to seek new solutions and modernize their managerial structures in order to survive. This study focuses on the current status of Iraqi small scale industries, through a comprehensive survey of those who work in this sector, with a view to set these challenges in context, and determine the means by which these industries can produce more efficient results.
This research paper identifies the major environmental features of the GCC countries, as well as Yemen, in terms of habitats, species, and environmental quality. It also assesses the environmental status and the major environmental challenges facing the region. The Environmental Features component was drawn from the World Wildlife Fund's description of the terrestrial eco-regions of the geographical area examined for this study. Although primarily a political and economic organization, the GCC is important for environmental matters as well. The region is at the centre of many key geo-political issues of our time, from world energy strategy to societal changes. This socio-economic background did shape, and is still shaping, the region and has obvious consequences on the environment. The analysis revealed that the countries of the GCC and Yemen are facing numerous environmental challenges and have many conflicting priorities, from economic diversification, water supply and food security to environmental protection and conservation. However, the research finds that environmental issues and requirements are still not amply integrated in the long-term development planning of the region, nor are they addressed at the policies level.
This Study attempts to analyze the GCC-Jordanian relations between 1980-2004, through highlighting the domestic factors such as Public opinion, the regional factors such as the Palestinian cause and Iraq, and the international factors such as the US role in the region, in determining the course of these relations. This study is based on the hypothesis that the bilateral relations emanate from the GCC and Jordanian perceptions of international relations with some meeting points and differences in these perceptions. The study asserts this hypothesis. Jordan reacted to the events with an eye on protecting its security and national interests, in addition to safeguarding the interests of the Arab nation. The GCC states perspective was based on perceiving Jordan as source of skilled labor. Oil was also a major factor in the bilateral relations and was linked to Jordan’s political stand. The study concludes that the economic factor is not enough to explain these relations, and all available positive opportunities should be exploited to consolidate them in order to face the new challenges including those posed by the extremist groups.
“In their extensive historical march, the Gulf-Egyptian relations produced a network of economic interests, politico-strategic objectives, social ties and cultural interaction. However, their march has not taken a linear form, neither has it been distributed in the same level and form among all the GCC States in accordance with the requirements of mutual interests and the Egyptian traditional regional role, as well as the Egyptian-Saudi competition. The development of the relationship between the two parts can be divided into epochs, which determine intervals between decisive historical shifts witnessed by Egypt and the GCC States, individually or collectively. Each epoch was dominated by a particular political perception. Before the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, Egypt was a strong regional center whereas the Gulf was its “vital sphere”. The relationship changed from “subordination” to the “Cold Arab War” when the conflict between Cairo and Riyadh reached a peak in the 1960s. Following this Egypt and the GCC States were reconciled after the June 1967 defeat, only to return to severance of relations again after the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Then the relationship developed into the present form of “mutual interdependence”. The two sides embody the future stake as regards the survival of a “viable Arabic bloc” in the face of the “Greater Middle East” project.
In the aftermath of the Second Gulf War, the GCC states have taken steps, albeit with varying degrees and different in nature, on the path towards political reforms. This process gained momentum after the September 11 attacks which led, among other things, to a noticeable change in Washington's policy in respect of the issue of democracy in the Arab and Islamic worlds. This paper focuses on the description, analysis and assessment of political reforms in the GCC states. It will explore the incentives for political reforms, both internal and external, that led to reform measures in these states. In addition, the paper will discuss the most important factors and problems related to political reforms in the concerned states, including the nature of the state and its relation to society, the dominant political culture, the specific nature of the civil society in these states and the extent of its effectiveness. Also, the paper will discuss the external factors, i.e. the regional and international factors, which created additional incentives for political reforms and their implications for political development in the GCC states. The Paper will discuss the future prospects for political reforms in the GCC states, especially in light of the rise to power of new leaders in these countries, the emergence of the role of civil society institutions in some cases, the unprecedented rise in oil prices, the continuing deterioration of the political and security situation in Iraq, all of which could have further impact on internal developments in the GCC states.
Compared to other means of communication, the Internet became an advanced means of communication in a very short period of time. Because of its advanced technical capabilities, this network, which is based on intensive exchange and interaction, gathered all the special characteristics of other means of communication, such as the press, radio, T.V, video, cinema and telephones. In addition, it enables its users to play the role of both the recipients and senders of information at the same time. On the other hand, the potential impact of this technology and the transformation it would cause in the field of communication has become a rich area of investigation for scholars and students. With the increase in various services of the internet, many subjects, issues and problems appeared to the surface and became worthy of serious study and examination. In light of the above, this research seeks to explore the attitudes of internet café clients in particular. Their demographic characteristics, the environment in which they access the web, its nature and their own motives are aspects that revealed their attitudes, especially after we came to realize their technical tools and surfing traditions, which carry certain risks. Also, the results of this research revealed some scientific facts pertaining to the use of the internet by café clients, who have different motives and various intentions in the context of the services offered by these venues. These clients seek to satisfy their desires at all times and fulfill their needs while safeguarding their own privacy.
Relations between the Russian Federation and the newly independent former Soviet Republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the monarchies of the Arabian Gulf are presently being consolidated. Although full political ties between the former Soviet Union and the Gulf states have been established since at least the late Soviet period, political, cultural and economic engagement between these regions has only become more assertive over the last few years. The strategic interests of the Russian Federation and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for example, have converged more often. This has been a result of acts of terrorism, like the September 11 attacks in New York, ensuing international political crises like the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and new economic developments of global significance, such as the vastly increased levels of Russian oil production and exports from the late 1990s. Furthermore, the CIS is home to around 65 million Muslims and a revival of Islam has rapidly taken place in various Muslim regions there. The supportive role that the states of the Gulf have played in backing the Islamic revival in the CIS has led to further, careful engagement between the two blocs, with the governments of the CIS harboring suspicion that such support is aiding the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in their countries.
Strategically situated on the Arabian Peninsula, the Sultanate of Oman acted as a bulwark of stability in a region prone for the opposite. With a strong, yet legitimate regime in power, Muscat ensured its security without neglecting its gargantuan developmental needs. In recent years, it addressed many challenges as Omanis were called upon to shoulder nation-building responsibilities. In 2005, the Sultanate faced important challenges even as it ensured internal stability because potentially effective institutions were slowly emerging. Sultan Qaboos, certainly a gifted leader, motivated Omanis to excel. In turn, the latter inspired the ruler to rule with justice. This comprehensive essay first assesses contenders to authority and influence in Oman. It then analyzes economic contentions before turning to critical social debates. The study also delves into an analysis of the judiciary as well as several regional contentions facing the country. It concludes with an assessment of the Sultanate's fundamental raison d’etat that purports to create value and ensure sociopolitical constancy.
This study is an attempt to establish a research base for the Gulf - Arab relations. The study analyzes fields of these relations and their political, economic, military and other contexts; as well as issues and developments of such relations, especially turning points and testing ones to the nature of these relations. The study concluded that the relations between GCC states and the rest of the Arab countries, though based on dominant factors and determinants, were greatly characterized by being steady. But the nature and evolution of such relations do not clearly reflect the outcome of those factors, according to the assumed relative weight of each. The study found out that the degree of coordination and harmony in the GCC foreign relations towards the Arab region is not different than that towards other fields of GCC foreign relations. This, in turn, reflects the limited impact of the Gulf affiliation to the Arab region, in comparison to the given close ties between the GCC and Arab orders.
This paper traces the evolution of Russian/Soviet foreign policy in the Gulf region from the early 20th century to the present amidst competition with the United Kingdom and United States and such issues and events as the two World Wars, the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union and the three Gulf Wars. Utilizing Russian archive documents and other such primary documentation, Melkumyan explores the multi-faceted relationships between Russia/the USSR and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iraq to a great degree and those with the smaller GCC states to a lesser degree. The study is characterized by its heavy reliance on Russian primary documentation and its birds-eye view of developments in Russian foreign policy. Dr. Elena Melkumyan is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Moscow State University Institute for Asian and African Studies. Her research focuses on Russian foreign relations and policy in the Middle East in general and the Gulf region in particular.
Since the events of September 11 2001, the international efforts to fight terrorism have been intensified. Not only a global war was launched against this phenomenon and the war itself was internationalized through employing the mechanism of international justice in an attempt to provide support and maintain cooperation and coordination among all the states of the international community. The 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council came into existence as the first tool to internationalize this war. The mission of this committee is focused on declaring as an "International Criminal" any individual or organization believed to be involved in carrying or supporting terrorist activities in general and those of Taliban and Al Qaeda in particular. Though the noble target of this committee and its moral mission is to fight terrorism, some practices and unjustified resolutions prove beyond any doubt that this committee has failed to provide the minimum expected justice and it lacks any judicial regulations that would guarantee the individual or the organization the legitimate right of defending themselves. This documented research sheds light on the mission and practices this of this committee whose existence is a human necessity and whose justice remains imperative for its legitimacy.
Since its inception in 1981, the Gulf Cooperation Council has been discussing the possibility of a unified trade and finance regime, though such efforts have been met with little success. Progress on this front has been hampered by sovereign interests and structural discrepancies among the GCC States and, more importantly, the lack of executive bodies with the power of enforcing region-wide policies. Through exploring the currently developing politico-economic dynamics in the Gulf region in general and in the Gulf Cooperation Council in particular and their impact on the wider framework of the GCC, the discussion herein puts forth the argument that economic integration will not occur as a result of formal policies and agreements. Rather, it is argued that there are realignments already taking place within the GCC that are not related to the signing of the bilateral free trade agreements, which have been touted as a wrench in the GCC integration plans. Diverging from the conventional narrative on economic integration, the author argues that it seems more likely that further integration within the GCC can only be established via pressures created through competitive or seemingly non-cooperative arrangements and developments that necessitate economic integration. In this respect, it is suggested that the negotiation of bilateral FTAs with the GCC States does not compromise the longer term opportunities to negotiate a strong GCC Union, but will rather pressure them into negotiating even better terms for inter-GCC trade.
In the wake of the Cold War’s end and the subsequent hegemony of the United States, the State of Israel, which has since its inception entertained strong ties with the superpower, has found itself in an interestingly strategic position as the gatekeeper to friendly relations with the US. This paper analyzes the relations of three regional powers – India, Russia and Turkey – with Israel, putting forth the argument that despite their opposing views on Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians, relations with the latter have developed positively and have provided the three suitors with an alternate source of arms, an alternate market for their goods and, more importantly, a boost in their relations with the US. The author explores the respective relations between the states by viewing them through the lenses of security, terrorism, economics and regional implications, assessing the benefits and shortcomings of the developing relations for all of the parties involved and providing an analysis of Israeli foreign policy that diverges from conventional discussions on the topic.
One by one, the governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states seem to have resigned themselves to the fact that a broad political reform process and a general overhaul of their respective political systems is both necessary and desirable. The current pressures being exerted upon the existing ruling arrangements make the transition towards a more participatory and liberal political order inevitable. In this context, the focus on current research efforts in terms of the political development process that is taking place in the Gulf should look at the existing and emerging domestic dynamics (population, education, the spread of IT etc.) as much as the prevailing external determinants (consequences of the Iraq War, the US Greater Middle East Initiative etc.), which traditionally have received the majority of attention. The result of the current environment is that the majority agrees on the need for a reform process but nobody really understands the parameters to follow or the systemic factors driving the process itself. What is particularly lacking is a consideration of the political reform movement from an internal GCC perspective and how the debate in terms of a more participatory and equitable form of political representation is being viewed and formulated within the Gulf societies themselves. This paper takes such an internal view as its point of departure to develop a thorough understanding of the meanings of reform and provide an overview of the key domestic factors that are determining the current path to reform. A related focus is whether outside efforts and discussions about the key elements of a proposed reform strategy are in essence based on the wrong assumptions and are therefore more or less futile attempts that ultimately will have only a very limited impact.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict represents a major aspect of the regional and international conflicts alike. GCC states have played a major role in the confrontation for religious, nationalistic and strategic considerations. These countries began an early participation in the conflict, but it became obvious and gained prominence during the June 1967 war. When the Arab-Arab differences broke out in 1990 because of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the active role of GCC states in the conflict with Israel almost vanished. This study does not notice a re-emergence of this role, except in the late months of the 1990s and during 2000. This study attempts to discern and analyse of the role of GCC states in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Despite the fact that these states (except Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) became Independent three decades ago - a relatively short period, yet they played a vital role in supporting the Palestinian cause in the economic, political and military arenas and in several phases of the conflict. Accordingly, their absence has represented a clear drawback in the conflict.
The Red Sea enjoys an undeniable strategic location, as it embodies in its own right a self-sustainable and critical sub-regional order within the larger Middle East order. Besides, the Red Sea constitutes a bridge that links a great number of strategic sea routes. This paper seeks to approach the Red Sea region by systematically tracing developments unfolding around it since the end of the Col War era, along with identifying the multitude sources of threats, current and potential, that plague its security and cooperative relations that have been unraveling across the region in light of fast-moving regional and international developments. The paper offers a new security and cooperation paradigm for the Red Sea basin that takes into account the interests of all concerned parties. The linkage and mutual interaction between the security of the Red Sea and the security and stability of the Gulf region and their relation to pan-Arab security, too, are minutely analyzed. Similarly, the paper examines the role of the GCC States in enhancing and consolidating the geo-strategic bond between the two sub-regions.
This research paper sheds light on Yemen relations with the GCC States that stemmed from geography, culture, religion, and strategy. Yemen is considered as a strategic depth for the Arab Gulf countries, and will continue, particularly in the new global and regional changes. The paper comes after the joining of Yemen to some of GCC bodies. Therefore, the paper examines different aspects of these relations in depth and explores the prospects of cooperation between the two parties.
The GCC-EU relations have unfolded within a bilateral pattern, a reality which has probably sustained their long-standing historical status. To be sure, Europe's interests in the Gulf region are not confined to the mere commodity of oil. In fact, European interests are strategic in character, as clearly shown at different stages throughout the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century. Even tough the GCC States and European countries have entertained a network of strong bilateral bonds, relations at the institutional level between the Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Union as two regional structures have evolved rather slowly, failing to reflect the geographical proximity between the two blocs and the inter-dependence that ties them together. Over the past years, the Gulf as well as European states have avoided broaching the critical issue of collective cooperation during bilateral negotiations. However, at present there seems that a gradual trend is evolving towards boosting bilateral collective cooperation between the two regional entities. Elizabeth Stephens attempts in this study through a political economic perspective to trace the major developments and transformations that have unraveled within the GCC-EU relations.
Japan is the world’s second largest national economy—accounting for one- seventh of world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and around 10 per cent of world exports and imports—with the seventh largest population of just over 120 million. There is no doubt that oil served as a key factor in shaping and altering the relations between Japan and the Gulf states, but it is an oversimplification to analyze the Japan-Arab Gulf relations solely from the perspective of energy. With the progression of time, Tokyo gradually concentrated its effort in diversifying the fields of potential cooperation with the GCC states, including increased investment and human contacts, thereby laying grounds for closer ties of interdependency. One of the characteristics of the Japan-GCC relations lies in the fact that they were often determined less by issues of bilateral concerns but rather by wider regional and international developments. This research, through analyses of key events—including those outside the bilateral—in Japan’s involvement in the Arab Gulf region since the beginning of the twentieth century, aims to identify factors which shaped the course of evolution of Japan-GCC relations.
The strategic relations between the United States and the GCC (the Gulf Cooperation Council) states commenced in the post World War II era and continued through the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. The American political, economic and strategic interests in the Gulf region have always occupied a top priority in the US foreign policy agenda. Precisely, oil has always been a key American interest in the region, particularly as Saudi Arabia alone possesses the largest oil reserves in the world. Moreover, American oil companies have had an exclusive role in developing the Saudi oil industry. Notwithstanding the fact that the US interests in the GCC states have mainly been the flow of oil and the political stability of the region over the past five decades, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington DC marked a turning point as far as the US bilateral relations with the GCC states, the security issues in the Gulf region and the US policy towards Iraq are concerned. The United States expanded its presence and involvement in the Gulf region, declared war against terrorism and later against Iraq. This exacerbated the US concerns about the security of the Gulf region allowing the Bush administration to call upon the GCC states in various occasions, particularly Saudi Arabia, to accelerate their efforts to combat terrorism emphasizing that the September attacks were mainly perpetrated by Saudi citizens. Consequently, the bilateral relationships between the United States and the GCC states were affected either negatively, as it is the case with Saudi Arabia or positively as it is the case with Qatar. The research on the GCC-US relations in an ever-changing world is vital. It deserves close attention and requires a constant assessment to provide quality understanding of the nature of these relations and prospective developments.
Australia and the Arab world have a history which reaches back into the 7th century and before. It includes the later travels of the fabled Islamic Mongol navigator, Cheng Ho, in the 15th century. The evidence for this is weak however. In relatively recent history a much stronger relationship has been shaped through trade, travel, and joint ventures. Oil, the Gulf War, the present War on Iraq, and the vision of the Arab leaders have all had an impact. Currently the vibrancy of the relationship is developing into a partnership of opportunity. There is a cultural and economic exchange that only the future can tell where it will lead. These ties have been created through great adventures and a tolerance and respect shown towards each other by these very different peoples, the peoples of Australia and the GCC nations. This paper aims to illuminate the path taken in the creation of this potential of opportunity and to set the stage for other more specifically focused papers
Historically, the international relations of the European Union (EU) have been guided by the interests of its member countries and by the heritage that each of them has chosen to promote, or pass on to the Union. The colonial legacy plays a crucial role in determining and developing the foreign policy of the Union. The authors approach the relationships between the GCC and EU through analyzing the prevalent operational mechanisms in each of the two regional organizations. The great differences between them hinder the improvement of their collective relations. This renders it imperative upon all the parties concerned to clarify the reasons to facilitate further development. This research paper, however, provides in-depth analysis for the adopted mechanisms and policies by each of the two blocs and highlights the political and institutional priorities for such differences as well as it presents a workable perspective for bilateral cooperation.