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GCC Planning Aid Package for Oman and Bahrain to Quell Discontent

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas reports today that the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council are holding discussions about sending financial aid to two of its members who have been hit by demonstrations and protests, Bahrain and Oman, as the Middle East continues to show signs of instability and violence.

The other four members of the GCC, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are considering sending an aid package to help improve the economic and social conditions of their less prosperous neighbors. Together the wealthiest of the six GCC states are said to have about $1.35 trillion in surplus assets, gathered just in the past several years of high oil prices. The aid would be designed to help pay for housing for the needy, create jobs and improve public services in Oman and Kuwait.

Protests in Bahrain have been focused largely on demands for political and economic reforms, while the demonstrators in Oman are more concerned with political corruption and lack of jobs.

Some analysts are comparing this proposed aid package plan of the GCC with the famous Marshall Plan of the United States, which helped rebuild and support Europe in the aftermath of the devastation of World War II. The plan was named after the creator of the plan, the United States Secretary of State at the time, George Marshall.

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