Shadowed by Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi's killing, the council's upcoming summit will be held in Riyadh on December 9.

GCC leaders attending the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Bayan palace in Kuwait Cityon in December 5, 2017.
GCC leaders attending the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Bayan palace in Kuwait Cityon in December 5, 2017. (ASSER AL-ZAYYA / Getty Images)

The GCC countries hold a yearly summit to discuss the economic and political situation in the Gulf states and to reach more coherent politics for its members.

In the recent past, however, the GCC was embroiled in infighting, undermining its stated goal of enhancing regional cooperation. 

In May 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt  imposed sanctions on the GCC member Qatar, accusing it of cozying up to their regional rival Iran and supporting terrorism.

Though it's unlikely that Qatar crisis will be addressed in the upcoming summit, Kuwait's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said Doha is expected to attend it.

Here are five things to know about the GCC


The GCC was established in 1981 in Abu Dhabi to develop economic, strategic and political cooperation between member states: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates(UAE), Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Member States

All GCC states are ruled by different monarchies. Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain follow the model of constitutional monarchy.  

Saudi Arabia and Oman rules with absolute monarchy. The UAE has federal monarchy, which means its seven federal regions are ruled by seven different emirs.

All these member states are oil rich with nearly half of the world’s oil reserves. 


The GCC wields a strong influence over the global oil markets. 

The member states have begun to focus on strengthening their tourism industry in order to reduce its dependency on oil economy, which could face a set back due to depleting oil reserves. 

GCC's organisational structure

The Supreme Council is the top decision making body of the GCC, where the heads of member states meet once a year.

The ministerial council and other ministers meet every three months.

The Secretariat General is GCC's main administrative branch, which oversees the Consultative Commission and the Commission for the Settlement of Disputes. The former  is meant to advise the Supreme Council on policy matters and the latter addresses the internal issues between the member states. 

The Supreme Council appoints the Secretary General, currently a Bahraini engineer and retired lieutenant general Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani.  

Recent Disputes

In 2014, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain recalled  their ambassadors from Qatar, citing  Qatar's support to Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. 

Three years later in 2017, the same nations again cut of diplomatic relations with Qatar as they want Doha to have a minimum contact with Iran and also shut down Turkish military base in the oil-rich country. 

Shutting down Al Jazeera and all international media outlets funding by Qatar is another demand made by the three states.