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Security Efforts in the Arab World: A Brief Examination of Four Regional Organizations

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To meet the sponsors request for an assessment of past Arab security efforts, this Note was originally written in 1991 as a quick response policy- oriented paper, under the title Improving Middle East Security An Historical Perspective. It was re-drafted a year later to place the historical record in perspective as well as to assess security proposals under discussion in the region. The War for Kuwait amply demonstrated the inherent instabilities of the Middle East in general and the Persian Gulf region in particular. In the aftermath of the war, conservative Arab Gulf monarchies embarked on yet another search for regional security, aimed to deter potential aggressors and defend over 50 percent of the worlds known petroleum reserves. How this security objective was structured was one of the most complicated issued facing the Gulf states as well as their regional and global allies. This Note offers a brief examination of four regional organizations security efforts in and around the Persian Gulf, and evaluates their historical records, to identify key weaknesses hampering efforts to improve security throughout the area. By examining such diverse groups as the Arab League, the Central Treaty Organization, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Arab Cooperation Council, an attempt is made to highlight their successes and shortcomings. Toward that end, security linkages between regional powers are evaluated to draw applicable conclusions, if possible. The record clearly indicates that past collective security arrangements failed largely because of their exclusionary features and, to remedy such shortcomings, new approaches may well be required.

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  • Government and Political Science

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