Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the formation of the “Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council”, the brainchild of the two countries’ powerful crown princes, Muhammad bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed. The Saudi Arab News has said: “The aim of the council is to promote Saudi-Emirati stature on the global stage in a number of areas including the economy, political affairs, human development and security as well as ensuring citizen welfare and happiness.”
The two princes’ vision is known as the “Determination Strategy”, the official Saudi Press Agency stated, giving a five-year deadline to implement the program of no fewer than 44 areas of cooperation, including arms manufacture and military coordination. The last reference has generated concerns in Qatar and the US that the two countries might be planning a military assault on Qatar.
US commentator Simon Henderson believes that the council is “probably the death knell of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)”. He points out that despite several internal differences the GCC members had been able to successfully meet the challenge posed by the Iranian revolution and protect Kuwait’s interests after the Iraqi occupation of 1990. But, the GCC has been under strain because of the year-long Gulf confrontation between Qatar and its neighbours, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, along with Egypt.