The states of the lower Gulf and Saudi Arabia share a similar economic, social and political situation. On the one hand, they have a relatively small population, a high per capita income and a relatively low capacity to absorb capital. On the other hand, they have acquired significant importance since the Second World War as a result of the discovery of oil and their vast oil wealth (60 percent of the world’s proven reserves).
Al-Alkim’s book examines the factors shaping the foreign-policy dynamics of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. The theme of the book is that, as a result of the 1991–92 Gulf war and the Gulf countries’ increased dependency on the US in the ‘new world order’, the GCC has become heavily dependent on foreign powers for its survival.
The author first outlines the historical background, explaining its effect on current foreign-policy issues and investigating the role played by internal factors. He then deals with political and social dynamics, strengths and weaknesses, and harmony and conflict in intra-state relations. Regional and international interactions, and the role of decision-makers, are examined as they impinge on the drawing up of foreign policy. Finally, the book examines the issues and problems facing the GCC states for their foreign policy in the 1990s and asks how they will approach the twenty-first century.
About the Author
Hassan Hamdan al-Alkim is Professor of International Relations at UAE University and the General Director of the RAK Economic Development Department. His publications include The Foreign Policy of the United Arab Emirates and The GCC States in an Unstable World: Foreign-policy Dilemmas of Small States (both by Saqi Books). His website is www.hhalkim.ae.