Transatlantic Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa and the Growing Role of the Gulf States
Though largely unnoticed by the public, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries’ political and economic ties with the Arab Mediterranean Countries (AMCs) and Turkey have strongly increased in the last decade. This can be explained in part by the growing political asser-tiveness by, most notably, smaller Gulf states such as Qatar and Kuwait and their desire to transform their economic clout into a regional political role. At the same time, the huge capital surpluses resulting from the last oil boom and the existence of seemingly infinite sovereign wealth funds, in conjunction with the realization that domestic markets have become saturated and too narrow, have led all the GCC countries and numerous Gulf holdings to adopt a highly pro-active trade and investment strategy toward the Arab Southern Mediterranean and Turkey.
This study reveals that the GCC countries’ growing presence in the AMCs has had positive repercussions for the relevant NATO and EU cooperation frameworks. It concludes that the now close political and economic interregional ties between the Gulf, the Maghreb, and the Mashreq could indeed be used by NATO and the EU if the will and the interest existed to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of their poli-cies.