World and regional orders are passing through a fluid state since 2011; the US is increasingly trying to avert the global economic role of China, the US-Russian completion has resurfaced once again, and the international political geography has witnessed some change with the secession of South Sudan in 2012 and the Russian annexation of Crimea by force early 2014. The US-Iranian rapprochement poses a real challenge for GCC states, especially in light of growing doubts about the objectives of this rapprochement and the hidden bargains, possibly at the expense of GCC states’ security. Therefore, efforts by GCC states to develop their military capabilities seem logical because Iran has accumulated a competing military arsenal over the past years, notably its naval forces. Tehran has made superiority in the territorial waters of the Arabian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb one of its stated objectives. This paper deals with the nature and volume of the naval competition between Iran and GCC states in light of the declared objectives. It also reviews and compares the naval capabilities of each side and draws conclusions about the dangers of disparity between the two sides on the GCC states’ security and the whole region.
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