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Focus on Arabia: The Gulf Cooperation Council

Course number : ILR738   ID : 25758    Section Number : 1
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Formed in 1981, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a subregional organization consisting of the six petroleum-rich Sunni Arab monarchies of the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman. Blessed with extensive hydrocarbon resources and located along the most important geopolitical axis in the world, the countries of the GCC rank among the most important for the global economy. For this reason, their alliances and foreign policy priorities are highly consequential, including for the US. Formed to promote Arab regional unity, the professed aims of this bloc include coordination, cooperation, and integration. While they share much in common—religion, language, and, to some extent, history—recent fissures within this bloc have called its presumptive unity into question. With fresh perspectives gleaned from recent interviews in the region, “Focus on Arabia: The Gulf Cooperation Council” will focus on the six countries of the GCC, both as a group and individually. Their dramatic transformation to modernity in less than three generations is unparalleled in modern history. While the economies of these traditional societies have soared, so, too, have the challenges that accompany staggering affluence, rapid globalization, and increased international scrutiny. Join us as we discuss, among other topics, the position of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia vis-à-vis its neighbors, including its costly and prolonged entanglement in Yemen, its unique relationship with the UAE, its rapprochement with Qatar after a punishing boycott, and its recently announced resumption of diplomatic relations with its former nemesis, the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the context of this “brotherly” bloc, let us explore the role of Oman, the “Switzerland of the Middle East,” renowned for its independence and insistence on neutrality in external affairs. Of special interest is the diminution of the role of the United States vis-à-vis the countries of the GCC as growing Chinese and Russian influence continue to call into question historic understandings between America and many of its major partners in the region. 

Class Details

5 Session(s)
Weekly - Tue

Sweadner Hall

Funsch,Linda P 



Please read:  Special pricing for this offering is made possible by a generous donation from the Cruickshank Wolfe Fund. This course will meet on campus in an in-person environment.



Registration Closes On
Tuesday, October 31, 2023 @ 11:59 PM



Schedule Information

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
10/31/2023 - 11/28/2023 Weekly - Tue 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM Frederick, Sweadner Hall  Map, Room: Sweadner Hall Funsch,Linda P