x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

After Jordan and Morocco, what comes next?

Half of people in the Gulf polled believe adding extra countries could lead to a wider pan-Arab union, a poll found.

ABU DHABI // Fifty per cent of Gulf nationals believe it is very likely or quite likely that Jordanian and Moroccan membership would lead to a wider pan-Arab union similar to the EU, according to the poll compiled for Al Aan TV's programme Nabd al Arab ("Arabs' Pulse") by YouGov Siraj.

Security in turbulent times is clearly on the agenda.

Twenty per cent of Gulf nationals believe the GCC proposal was primarily intended to limit Iranian influence.

Eighteen per cent believed the main reason for the GCC proposal was a desire for military benefits. That view was far more widely felt among Jordanians (47 per cent).

Twelve per cent of Gulf nationals suggested the main reason for the proposal was to prevent democratic uprisings.

Of those who believed the GCC would benefit from Moroccan membership, 58 per cent of Emiratis believe the GCC would benefit from security co-operation with Morocco, whereas 68 per cent of Moroccans believed that to be the case.

And of those who believed the GCC would benefit from having Jordan as a member, 83 per cent of Jordanians said the GCC would benefit the most from security co-operation - perhaps because Jordan's security apparatus is widely considered to be among the most robust in the region.

That dovetailed closely with the perception of Bahrainis, among whom 76 per cent believe the GCC would be looking to benefit from Jordan's security apparatus. Sixty-four per cent of Emiratis agreed with that assessment.

hhamid@thenational.ae