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'GULFing Buddies': UAE Announces New Alliance With Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, December 7, 2017

The move casts doubt on the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council amid the on-going Qatar crisis.

In an official statement, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the creation of a Joint Cooperation Committee with Saudi Arabia, its principal ally in the Middle East.

The new organization is tasked with improving cooperation between the two Gulf States in 'all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries.'

'The Committee shall have all the powers necessary for carrying out and executing its work,' the statement read.

The establishment of the new bloc comes as an unwelcomed surprise to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a 36-year-old political and economic organization that features Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia and the UAE amongst its members.

During the recent GCC Summit in Kuwait, Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani called for unity and cooperation among its members.

Although, the Council has formally approved the creation of a common market, a single currency and a customs union, few of these measures are being implemented, as its members cannot agree on how to institutionalize these radical reforms.

A new UAE-Saudi Committee may effectively sideline its predecessor, as the two countries far outweigh their fellow GCC members, when it comes to military might, political leverage and economic potential.

The creation of the bilateral alliance may also mark the joint resolve by the UAE and Saudi Arabia to continue exerting pressure on Qatar, as part of the on-going spat between the Gulf States.

Since June, Small gas-rich Qatar has been subjected to land, sea and air blockades by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt for allegedly sponsoring terrorism.

Qatar denies the accusations, and blasts the blockade as an attempt by the larger Gulf States to bully it into submission.

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