Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Department of Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Hashim Gibrill


The Gulf Cooperation Council, which was established on May 25, 1981, is examined in this study. This regional organization is composed of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Using a regionalism theory as an analytical framework, the study analyzes this regional grouping in relation to its integrative schemes in terms of politics, economy, culture, defense and security. Both primary and secondary sources were utilized in this study. This dissertation is based on the premise that the formation of the GCC is in response to the historic, geographic, political, economic, strategic and cultural realities of the Gulf region. It is also based on the assumption that the establishment of the GCC is by and large in harmony with the political and ideological objectives of the member states. The study shows that the six states have very much in common in terms of history, language, religion, social and political systems. It also attempts to illustrate how the dramatic events in the Gulf region played a key role in the establishment of the GCC. It shows that these events, including the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, the Iranian revolution, and the Iran-Iraq war were the catalysts that hastened cooperation among the six states which in turn led to the formation of this regional grouping. The findings show that the GCC is a natural development in the evolution of cooperation among the similar social systems of the Gulf region. The GCC will help its small member states achieve certain goals collectively that could not be achieved individually. Moreover, in the face of external threats and internal disruption, these states must unite their efforts to survive. The analysis also shows that on a nationalist level the GCC is a viable vehicle for the promotion of Arab unity in the context of the Gulf. In addition, due to the member states’ small domestic market, the GCC offers a useful forum for economic cooperation. On the other hand, the study shows that the GCC states cannot defend themselves against a major offensive by a regional power. Finally, this study strongly recommends that to achieve a balance of power in the Gulf region, the possibility of adding new members to the GCC, such as Iraq and North Yemen must take a high priority.