August 21, 2018 By The Editor
The White House wants to see deeper cooperation between the allied Sunni countries.
The White House is pursuing a new project of an Arab NATO between US and the allied Sunni countries.
Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi accuse Iran of destabilising the region, fomenting unrest in some Arab countries through proxy groups, and increasingly threatening Israel.
“Iran is destabilising the region”
The United States is quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan in part to counter Iran’s expansion in the region.
The alliance would put emphasis on Gulf heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the UAE working closer together with the Trump administration on confronting Iran.
This cooperation should focus on missile defence, military training, counterterrorism, and other issues such as strengthening regional economic and diplomatic ties, four sources told the Reuters news agency.
Similar initiatives by previous US administrations to develop a more formal alliance with Gulf and Arab allies have failed in the past.
Arab NATO between US and the allied Sunni countries
The plan is to forge what officials in the White House and the Middle East have called an “Arab NATO” of Sunni Muslim allies.
The administration’s hope is that the effort, tentatively known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), might be discussed at a summit provisionally scheduled for Washington on October 12-13, sources said.
At the moment it is also unclear how the alliance could immediately counter Tehran.
Nevertheless the Trump administration and its Sunni Muslim allies have joint interests in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria, as well as defending Gulf shipping lanes through which much of the world’s oil supplies are shipped.
Obviously this will likely raise tensions between the US and Shia Iran, two countries increasingly at odds since President Donald Trump took office.
The White House confirmed it was working on the concept of the alliance with “our regional partners now and have been for several months”.
A spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council said, cautioning it remains uncertain whether the security plan will be finalised by mid-October:
“MESA will serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism, and will bring stability to the Middle East.”
Saudi officials raised the idea of a security pact in advance of Trump’s visit last year to Saudi Arabia, where he announced a massive arms deal, but the proposal did not get off the ground, a US source said.
Source: Al Jazeera
Pictures by: Pixabay and Army.mil