This summit was only held to guarantee that this council does not collapse and it was not held to reconcile with Qatar and it does not reflect a political victory for the latter like its media has been promoting.
The decision to form the committee was made by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan and he assigned Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed as its chief. This committee is a culmination of the robust alliance between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It’s an alliance that forms the backbone of Gulf security and Arab security.
According to official news reports, the committee’s task is to coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in military, political, economic, commercial and cultural fields and other fields as required by the two countries’ interests. The committee will also have the jurisdictions required to carry out its work.
Before this “practical” committee was formed, a coordination council between the two countries headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan was established.
The council will periodically meet in the UAE and Saudi Arabia alternately. The council’s chief can form joint committees whenever needed and he can assign these committees’ members. The committees will also periodically meet and the meetings will be alternately held in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
This yielded the Determination Retreat, when officials from both countries held their first meeting in Abu Dhabi for several days.
All these measures are meant to strengthen cooperation and synergy between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Challenges in Yemen, Qatar, Iraq and other crises in the region revealed the importance of solidifying this alliance, not just on the military, security and political level but also on the economic, cultural, administrative and sports level.
Is this an alternative to the Gulf Cooperation Council, as some said – either out of ill intentions as seen in the Qatari media or out of good intentions as seen via others?
I do not think so but there is a desperate need and an urgent situation for this alliance. There is no time to waste in Gulf disputes like the case is with Qatar and perhaps with Oman. Time must not be wasted in procrastination and trivialization like the case is with Kuwait.
There are real threats and wars that affect the core of Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini and even Kuwaiti security. These threats are posed by Iran and its tools in the region and by political Islam groups, such as the Brotherhood and groups which branched from them such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. These threats must be strongly, seriously and decisively confronted “now.”
The GCC will stay with its idle and slow rhythm; however, it’s not enough for the efforts and work required today.