27th GCC Summit

I don’t think that a lot of people in the Gulf actually realised that their leaders were in Riyadh since yesterday for their annual summit. The 27th one that is, and maybe the first time in many years where ALL leaders of the six Gulf Cooperation Council of the Arabian Gulf were actually present. I guess we all became jaded with this club, as nothing really gets out of these sessions that directly affects the person on the street, maybe because at their level they’re talking about long-term strategies of course. But still, my personal feeling from observations gathered over the last several years, no one really paid notice to these gatherings and we awaited the almost usual sparks and discord which marred several recent gatherings, as almost every one over the last 7 years or so ended up with less leaders around the table at the end of the summit than at their start.

But as all the deliberations are top secret and done behind closed doors, we never knew what went on that resulted in such eventualities.

Not this time though.. the sessions started with the usual objectives of freeing Palestine, telling Israel to get rid of its nuclear weapons, paying lip service (this time) to the Iranian threat, the Iraqi situation which are all issues we have heard for 27 times already, more or less.. then comes the big one:

Gulf Arab countries want to acquire nuclear energy capability and have ordered a study on a possible joint atomic programme, a statement read on Sunday at the close of a two-day Gulf Cooperation Council summit said.
Khaleej Times

That didn’t surprise me of course as I think everyone moderately following the happenings of this region and with a slight knowledge of the Arab mentality would have already arrived at the conclusion that it is a matter of when and not if the nations of the Gulf Arab states would actively pursue nuclear energy for (initially) peaceful means. It was only yesterday actually that I predicted this when commenting on the just concluded Manama Dialogue opening remarks and keynote speech:

The worry of course is whether these remarks also indicate a serious attempt by the Saudi regime to actively pursue nuclear technology acquisition in order to balance the Iranian threat on one side, and the Israeli on the other. That would certainly be a very problematic development.

Ah well. So what’s to be done about this then? Nothing… I’m not being flippant by saying that I don’t think this will go anywhere really, we’re Arabs and like to talk big but deliver very rarely. This is just posturing, nothing more and nothing less. A bunch of states flush with cash encountered a very good salesman who sold them the idea that he could make the technology available to them, for the right price of course, and the cheque-books got whipped out so fast that I guess some fights ensued between the leaders on whose turn it is to pick up the tab. And there are no prizes for guessing who it was.

If you are a businessperson, this is the time to brush up on nuclear glossary of terms and start thinking about nuclear construction projects and get the joint-venture research up and running.. think Pakistan, India, North Korea and Iran for possible JV partners…

Until then, this is the picture that will be used as backdrops and backgrounds for necessary pictures on walls.

Nuclear Fireball sm

I am so glad that I am an Arab, thank you very much!

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14 Comments
  • Ozzy
    11 December 2006

    I dont think it will be a good idea if there appear cluster of nuclear capable countries in one region..there will be high tension between the neighbouring countries & as being in an arab region they will be looking for the slightest reason for hitting the red button to see the atomic firework..
    Besides i think our “World Police i.e U.S” will not let that happen
    (its just an opinion i could be wrong)..
    I am proud i am a partial arab =D

  • Redbelt
    11 December 2006

    GOD Help us!
    If the nuclear plants will be run like any Arab ministry then expect a nuclear MELTDOWN!

  • milter
    11 December 2006

    I hope readers of Mahmood’s Den aren’t getting bored with my pessimistic commments about the development in The Middle East, but I just can’t help it!

    This new development is just another sign of the shortcomings of countries run by autocratic regimes. It makes no difference to the rulers what sensibble people “on the ground” really want.

    All that matters to them is the posture they can create of themselves in the media: “Look at me, see how big I am”.

    The GCC was originally created as something that looked a bit like the EEC of The Middle East in 1981. There was no mention of military cooperation in the original charter, but later, joint military excercises seemed to indicate to include that.

    I witnessed a few of them as a part of my job in Bahrain in the eighties. I haven’t seen any written confirmation of this change in the charter, but this link may explain a bit about that. Apparently there was an agreement among the menber states that “an aggression against any one of them is deemed an aggression against all of them”.

    Where was that military part of the GCC hiding when Kuwait was attacked by Iraq in 1991?

    So, to be honest, I don’t have a lot of confidence in written or oral statements from that kind of leaders, I prefer to look at their actions.

  • Ash
    11 December 2006

    Firstly … :rolleyes:

    mwahaha love these Santacons …

    I do wonder what on earth is going to become of countries like Saudi as their populations continue to burgeon, sea levels rise, temperatures soar, and their oil runs out. What are they going to do – eat their nuclear arsenal? Short-termist or what.

    :undecided:

  • Maverick
    11 December 2006

    Jeez Santacons…love them…love the name… ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

    What about arabcons or indicons…

    Saudi and others are probably looking at alternative energy sources since their oil will not last forever.

  • Aliandra
    11 December 2006

    Saudi and others are probably looking at alternative energy sources since their oil will not last forever.

    What about solar power? There’s a lot of sunshine in that part of the world. It’s clean too.

  • Ibn
    11 December 2006

    What about solar power? Thereรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs a lot of sunshine in that part of the world. Itรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs clean too.

    True dat Aliandra.

    They have all the sunshine in the world for energy, and all the silicon in the sand to make glass and mirrors for the plants. I personally think its just a matter of time before someone capitalises on it.

    But I dont think it will be Saudi. Maybe the UAE first, or Qatar, although I dont think they could spare the real-estate for being too small.

    I remember when I was in Dubai once, I purposely left out a jet black notebook in the sun for a good 10 minutes, after which it was literally too hot to grab – ok granted this was midday, but yeah theres alot of untapped energy just lying there. Why black cars are even imported is just beyond me.

    -Ibn

    Mahmood,

    It seems to me that the GCC shouldnt even be there – how can countries come together to make a greater entity, if those individual countries cant come together within themselves? Its like asking habitual drunkards to come together and do something.

    GCC just seems like an elite golf club for autocratic leaders, than a bonafide military and cultural alliance.

    Actually the GCC isnt about the nations of Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, etc. It is about the leaders or Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, etc. Maybe what they meant by coming to each others mutual aid was that if one of them got a parking ticket they would all pitch in.

    -Ibn

  • mahmood
    12 December 2006

    Ibn, I’m sure those thoughts are shared by a majority of us Gulf Nationals after waiting for 27 years and seeing almost nothing for it, especially when compared to the EU.

  • Maverick
    12 December 2006

    Still it is nice to see that theya re agreeing to disagree….. ha ha ha ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ๐Ÿ˜†
    Ibn and Aliandra you read my mind on the solar issue. Actually sometime back the GDN announced that solar power would be used to electify the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

    By the way Google Earth for Bahrain needs an updated view as the borders and views of Bahrain have changed with the new Bahrain Bay and Bahrain City Centre.

    The developments in that area are going to make it very crowded, what with the increasing traffic and congestion daily experienced on these roads. ๐Ÿ˜ก ๐Ÿ˜• ๐Ÿ™

    We need a nore efficient and convenient public transport system…..

  • can we talk
    12 December 2006

    We need a nore efficient and convenient public transport systemรขโ‚ฌยฆ.

    I agree totally, however i would rephrase that to

    We need a public transport systemรขโ‚ฌยฆ….. (‘coz right now, we ain’t got one!!)

  • can we talk
    12 December 2006

    Mahmood,
    why does your blog call me a cowboy? it’s not the first time and i am not a happy bunny about that! ๐Ÿ˜ก ๐Ÿ˜ก

  • can we talk
    12 December 2006

    Mahmood,
    do you know that your “recent posts” on the main page does not get updated like the thread pages do? it is lagging, which is confusing.
    (ok, that should keep you occupied for a few minutes….) ๐Ÿ˜†

  • mahmood
    12 December 2006

    That’s the price we pay for the caching mechanism I have to use, otherwise it would be far too heavy an application on the database as the system will have to extract the data from the database for every single comment, post, image, etc which would run the server to the ground. The caching mechanism allows the system to send out a cached page if there are no changes to the system, and sometimes it trips. The system (I think) flushes the cache (renews its content) every time there is a new comment or post posted.

    The reason that the system is calling you a cowboy is because Batelo, bless their overcharging heart, use a single IP for the whole of Bahrain, so if there was another comment from a Bahraini based computer posted a few seconds before yours, the system would think that you are a spammer and trying to stuff the system with your comments, hence, that temporary block. Normally if you go back in your browser and wait a few more seconds and resubmit it will allow you to post.

    So basically, I can’t do much about either issue for the moment.

  • Ash
    12 December 2006

    Saudi and others are probably looking at alternative energy sources since their oil will not last forever.

    I was thinking more of the fact that Saudi’s economy is so very oil-dependent, not about its own power needs. When the oil runs out, what will replace it as the engine of the Saudi economy? What does Saudi produce that could keep its economy healthy when there’s no oil left? Countries that depend excessively on a single income generator such as oil will find themselves in dire straits when one day it’s not there anymore or demand for it vanishes (the latter is also starting to look like it might be a distinct possibility too in the next 50 years or so).

    Somehow I don’t see Saudi suddenly manifesting the sort of inventiveness and dynamism that transformed the economy of, say, Japan. It doesn’t seem to be diversifying meaningfully at all. I guess there’s just so much sand there for the Saudi princes to stick their little heads into.

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