“It would serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism and will bring stability,” said a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council.
BY DIMA ABUMARIA/ THE MEDIA LINE
In preparation for the launch of the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) — known as the “Arab NATO” — Saudi Arabia has revealed an Arab-American meeting, including Qatar, that was held in the kingdom on April 8.
The meeting was held with the high-level participation of Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Jordan. According to the Saudi WAS news agency, the meeting was “an important step to launching the alliance, which aims to strengthen the security and stability of the region and the world.”
“It’s not a new project. However, its implementation is what matters,” Qassem Qaseer, a Lebanese political analyst stated. He confirmed that the US has been working with Arab states for a while now to form such a body, noting that “the issue remains with the different agendas and political approach of its member of states.” For example, Qaseer told The Media Line that the Arab countries don’t agree on more than one critical issue, pointing out that the Arab NATO is still an idea with no structure.
“They aim to pressure Iran on the ground by such initiative, although, they need to make it a reality first,” Qaseer added. It is noteworthy that the Idea of an Arab NATO coalition is one of the results of the Arab-Islamic summit hosted by Riyadh in May 2017.
Over the past year, senior American officials, including President Donald Trump’s adviser Jared Kushner and international negotiator Jason Greenblatt, have conducted shuttle diplomacy among Middle East capitals. Several analysts who spoke to The Media Line confirmed the visits laid the foundation for MESA, although the notion reportedly was first raised by Saudi Arabia.
Regarding Israel, its relations with regional Muslim nations are by most accounts improving, primarily the result of a shared interest in curbing Iran’s potential nuclearization. However, the conflict with the Palestinians remains a major, if not insurmountable, obstacle to the establishment of full diplomatic ties between Israel and more of its neighbors.