A body formed in 1981 by six countries on the western side of the Persian Gulf (the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait) for their collective security after the overthrow of the Shah of Iran followed by the emergence of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the launching of the Iraq–Iran War. The vulnerability of the oil facilities of the Gulf states to air and sea attack was exposed by the war. In the face of these external threats, cooperation was forged amongst the six for purposes of coordinating defence through regional collective security.
The main goals of the GCC are: economic integration together with coordinated planning; a cohesive foreign policy towards the non‐Arab world, and a framework for the discussion of Arab affairs; coordination of regional collective security; and educational cooperation and sociocultural understanding among member states. There has been success on each of these four fronts but the most successful area has been in the field of economic cooperation. A common market was established in 2008.
A Gulf Rapid Deployment Force with units from each member state, was set up in 1984. But with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, it was clear that this Rapid Deployment Force could not delay any large‐scale assault until help could be organized for an effective defence.
http://www.gcc-sg.org/eng/index.php Gulf Cooperation Council site, including charter, details of membership and organization, and history.