Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Gulf Cooperation Council as "Internal Security" Organization

The Bahraini use of the GCC's "Peninsula Shield" reflects the fact that there is probably no other international organization of its kind in the world. Mohammed Ayoub makes a similar argument to one Charles Tripp made in a 1995 edited volume, Regionalism in World Politics. Basically, the GCC, for all its efforts at economic cooperation, is really a security organization. But it's not exactly focused on external security (like NATO, for instance), but on internal security. That is, the job of the GCC is to allow its member countries to swap information that will allow their leaders to stay in power. That the Saudis (and others) would allow their troop contribution to the GCC to be used like this highlights this fact.

That said, I'd love to hear if other IOs perform or performed similar tasks. I wouldn't be surprised if the Soviet Union maintained a similar mechanism within the Warsaw pact, although that seems more hierarchical than this does. This kind of organization seems distinctly authoritarian: are there democratic counter-examples?

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