Analysts in Qatar offered mixed reactions to Jordan's expected accession to the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), with some describing it as a positive step that would support the Council's efforts and enhance the region's economies.
However, others called the accession an "ill-conceived step".
The leaders of the GCC welcomed requests from Jordan and Morocco to join the council during their May 10th meeting in Riyadh. A specific date for their entry has not been announced but discussions are under way between Jordan and the GCC to meet membership requirements.
Aisha al-Kuwari, a Qatari writer, said the accession of Jordan would "represent a form of support for the Gulf countries". She added, "The Gulf region is a strategic area, and this accession will strengthen the defence and security network of the Gulf."
She added, "We need the support of brotherly Arab countries to strengthen security in the Gulf."
Abdel Hamid al-Ansari, a political science professor at Qatar University, described the announcement of Jordan's accession as "surprising". He said, "The request to join is a vital extension for the Gulf and may represent a form of support and strength, both in economic or security terms, and perhaps it will form a stronger economic bloc."
Al-Ansari told Al-Shorfa the accession would form a "broader umbrella for Arab security" to face the challenges posed by the region's non-Arab neighbouring countries.
He added, "The admission of Jordan is not directed against anyone so much as it is a kind of a guarantee and a safeguard for the Gulf."
Faisal al-Marzouki, a Qatari writer, disagreed with Ansari, and described the accession as a "shock". He said, "The decision was not issued because of a desire from the Gulf populations, and it contradicts the idea on which the council was formed which is the similarities that exist among Gulf societies."
Hassan Rashid, a law professor at the University of Qatar, said the Council must deal with the issue of Jordan's accession wisely, referring to the pressures faced by some Gulf countries to address intervention from neighbouring non-Arab countries.
Rashid said, "It is necessary that the council's decisions not be sudden and reactive. There must be careful consideration before proposing any project."
In economic terms, Qatari researcher Abdullah Ghanim Al Ali Almuadid, stressed that Jordan's entry into the GCC will encourage a lot of private institutions and investors to enter the Jordanian market.
He told Al-Shorfa, "It is an emerging economy in a stable country, and it represents an opportunity for private capital, especially for hospitality and tourism in addition to education and health."
Almuadid said Jordan's entry "will contribute greatly to the diversification of investments for Gulf capital and an openness to new markets, which is required for the next stage."
Qatari businessman Yousef al-Kuwari agreed, describing the accession as "a smart decision". He said, "Geographical proximity makes it easy for Jordan to become a member of the council, which is in the interest of the Gulf States."
Al-Kuwari added, "Business activity with Jordan has always existed. Jordanian agricultural products are in high demand in the Gulf, not to mention Jordanian food products, which find a good outlet in the Gulf market."
He added, "The Jordanian market is one of the most developed Arab markets outside of the Arab Gulf, which would open the door to capital flow, especially if there is a mechanism for the implementation of Gulf economic conventions, many of which remain inactivate, even though they were adopted years ago, such as the common currency, which still faces refusal from Oman, and wavering from the Emirates."
The GDP of the GCC countries this year amounts to $1250 billion, making it the 13th largest economy in the world, according to a report published by the Gulf News newspaper.
According to the newspaper, the economy of Morocco and Jordan together will contribute about $200 billion and would expand tourism, industry, and trade in both countries.