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The Role of Gulf Cooperation Council in Conflict Management, 1981–2019: A Comparative Study

Amira Ahmed Elsayed Abdelkhalek


The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is considered one of the most important regional organizations in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, which effectively solves some of the crises in the sub-region and the wider Middle East. GCC has employed many diplomatic procedures to address regional crises, including mediation, negotiation, and arbitration. Undoubtedly, GCC has successfully resolved some intrastate conflicts, particularly border conflicts among its member states. However, despite these achievements, the GCC has failed to resolve several regional disputes, and the continuation of such crises threatens the region’s security and stability. This article seeks to explore why the GCC institutions are ineffective in resolving some regional crises. In doing so, it addresses the comparative study by focusing on two case studies (the Iraq–Iran War and the ongoing Yemen Crisis) and provides three main results: first, the GCC has not directly intervened as an institution to resolve certain disputes; however, some GCC members have acted on its behalf and represented it. Second, despite the GCC member states’ efforts, they are still unable to resolve and settle some disputes because they prioritize self-interest over collaboration. Third, the conflict of interest of various regional actors contributes to the lack of significant progress in resolving crises.

Keywords: Gulf Cooperation Council, conflict mechanism, diplomatic methods, military intervention, Iraq–Iran War, Yemen crisis

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pp. 99–115