19 November 2014
Wealthy Gulf states have invited Jordan and Morocco to compete in future Gulf Cups as part of a bid to strengthen their fragile six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at a time that they have at best papered over deep rifts within the group.
The invitation follows an earlier stalled attempt to persuade Jordan and Morocco, the Arab world’s only two non-Gulf monarchies, to join the GCC, which groups Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Oman. The GCC had hoped that inclusion of Jordan and Kuwait would help stymie calls for change and fortify Arab monarchies against popular revolts. Jordanians already populate the rank and file of the military and security forces in some of the smaller Gulf states.
The GCC’s football diplomacy came as an extraordinary GCC summit in Riyadh earlier this week paved the way for the return of the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE to Doha in advance of the group’s annual summit in Doha in early December. Saudi Arabia and its closest GCC allies had withdrawn their ambassadors in protest against Qatari support for the Muslim Brotherhood which they asserted involved alleged Qatari interference in the three countries’ domestic affairs.
…James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Wuerzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccerblog and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 20/11/2014