Fears over GCC security deal

 30 May 2013 - 3:03

There is fear again in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries regarding the proposed agreement on handling security issues in the member states. The consequences of the agreement look terrifying. 

Many of the elites and intellectuals in the Gulf have begun to tremble due to the arrests and imprisonment of those calling for political reforms. Moreover, there are complaints against writers, journalists and opinion makers, who are being taken to court, and action against tweeters, activists and young people using social media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube).

 In a seminar to discuss “Gulf Security Agreement”, organised by the National Democratic Alliance in Kuwait, participants noted that the proposal was not new, and it was introduced for the first time when the GCC was established in 1982. 

There are a number of reservations regarding many of the articles of the convention, in particular articles 1, 30, 34, 35, 36 and 79. Article 2 of the convention is related to pursuit of lawbreakers, without specifying who is lawless or a lawbreaker. Each member country has its own interpretation of this and it means individuals merely accused of wrongdoing can be delivered to security agencies of any country that wants them. 

Articles 6 and 9 of the convention, which are related to exchange of information, contradict the constitutions of some GCC countries, while Article 10 talks of field cooperation, which needs explanation as it may allow intervention by security agencies of one country in another country’s affairs.

Article 16 mentions tracking accused politicians, and says member states should hand over any political opponent accused of offences, which include seeking overthrow of the regime. The accusations can vary from one country to another. The governments, in order to hand over the persons concerned, even though they may be political refugees, could manipulate such vague provisions.

Commenting on the Gulf security agreement, the president of the Gulf forum for security has remarked in the past that “the protection of Gulf societies is more important than the democratization of societies”.

However, history, from the 18th century up to now, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, teaches us that, “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”

A group of Gulf tweeters is surprised that the terms of the agreement regarding GCC citizens have not been disclosed. They consider the agreement a new muzzle on the people, so to signal their rejection of the agreement, they have launched a campaign on Twitter under the heading “Down with Gulf security agreement.”

 

There is fear again in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries regarding the proposed agreement on handling security issues in the member states. The consequences of the agreement look terrifying. 

Many of the elites and intellectuals in the Gulf have begun to tremble due to the arrests and imprisonment of those calling for political reforms. Moreover, there are complaints against writers, journalists and opinion makers, who are being taken to court, and action against tweeters, activists and young people using social media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube).

 In a seminar to discuss “Gulf Security Agreement”, organised by the National Democratic Alliance in Kuwait, participants noted that the proposal was not new, and it was introduced for the first time when the GCC was established in 1982. 

There are a number of reservations regarding many of the articles of the convention, in particular articles 1, 30, 34, 35, 36 and 79. Article 2 of the convention is related to pursuit of lawbreakers, without specifying who is lawless or a lawbreaker. Each member country has its own interpretation of this and it means individuals merely accused of wrongdoing can be delivered to security agencies of any country that wants them. 

Articles 6 and 9 of the convention, which are related to exchange of information, contradict the constitutions of some GCC countries, while Article 10 talks of field cooperation, which needs explanation as it may allow intervention by security agencies of one country in another country’s affairs.

Article 16 mentions tracking accused politicians, and says member states should hand over any political opponent accused of offences, which include seeking overthrow of the regime. The accusations can vary from one country to another. The governments, in order to hand over the persons concerned, even though they may be political refugees, could manipulate such vague provisions.

Commenting on the Gulf security agreement, the president of the Gulf forum for security has remarked in the past that “the protection of Gulf societies is more important than the democratization of societies”.

However, history, from the 18th century up to now, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, teaches us that, “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.”

A group of Gulf tweeters is surprised that the terms of the agreement regarding GCC citizens have not been disclosed. They consider the agreement a new muzzle on the people, so to signal their rejection of the agreement, they have launched a campaign on Twitter under the heading “Down with Gulf security agreement.”