Interestingly enough, in a previous post from 2015, Saudi Arabia was already working on building an ‘Islamic NATO’ to fight what it deemed ‘terrorism’. At the time, it could’ve been an actual Arab NATO forming under the guise of terrorist fighting, but the main aim was and always has been Iran. Maybe it still exists to this day and Trump is adding more strength to it.
Furthermore, and more interesting was America’s goals stated in public by now-retired General Wesley Clark to overthrow seven Middle East nations in five years to keep the next world superpower from rising. The goal never changed but the timeline did. Now fast forward to 2017 and almost six out of 10 are taken care of — the sixth being Syria which is almost as good as defeated and about to be split up between three or four major powers. If an Arab NATO is formed, it will obviously be with the blessing of Washington and likely used as a proxy to take out the seventh Middle East nation, Iran.
All in all, this is going to be a very interesting development to follow up on.
For more on the ‘Islamic NATO’, see the following previous post:
When President Trump arrives in Riyadh this week, he will lay out his vision for a new regional security architecture White House officials call an “Arab NATO,” to guide the fight against terrorism and push back against Iran. As a cornerstone of the plan, Trump will also announce one of the largest arms-sales deals in history.
Behind the scenes, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been conducting extensive negotiations, led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The discussions began shortly after the presidential election, when Mohammed, known in Washington as “MBS,” sent a delegation to meet with Kushner and other Trump officials at Trump Tower.
After years of disillusionment with the Obama administration, the Saudi leadership was eager to do business. “They were willing to make a bet on Trump and on America,” a senior White House official said.
In that meeting and during a follow-up meeting three weeks later, the Saudis proposed a broad elevation of the U.S.-Saudi relationship and proposed various projects to increase security cooperation, economic cooperation and investment, White House officials said. The Trump team gave the Saudis a list of Trump priorities, calling on the kingdom to step up actions to combat radical Islamic extremism, intensify the fight against the Islamic State and share the burden of regional security.
In recent weeks, the Trump administration has tasked various government agencies to develop a series of announcements Trump will make this weekend. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is now heavily involved. One main objective is to put forth a framework and basic principles for a unified Sunni coalition of countries, which would set the stage for a more formal NATO-like organizational structure down the line.
“We all have the same enemy and we all want the same thing,” the official said. “What this trip hopefully will do is just change the environment.”
The idea of an “Arab NATO” has been bandied about for years — and has always had strong Saudi support — but until now was never openly endorsed by the U.S. government. Officials said the concept fits three major tenets of Trump’s “America First” foreign-policy frame: asserting more American leadership in the region, shifting the financial burden of security to allies and providing for U.S. jobs at home (through the massive arms sales).
The president is looking for an answer to the question of how the United States can eventually hand over security responsibility in the region to the countries that are there, officials said.
Reports from the region about early discussions of the project said that in addition to Saudi Arabia, initial participants in the coalition would include the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan, with the United States playing an organizing and support role while staying outside the alliance.
The White House admits that many of the details of how the new alliance will operate remain to be worked out. The countries of the region harbor deep historical grievances and don’t agree on key issues, including the way forward in Syria. A 2015 effort by Egypt to establish a pan-Arab fighting force collapsed due to squabbling among the countries involved.
“This is the sort of gesture many of America’s security partners have been looking to get from the United States for many years,” said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center of American Progress. “The value of any such a pact would depend on the results it produces — whether it achieves greater stability, helps resolve conflicts like Yemen and Syria, and achieves progress in the fight against terrorist groups across the region.”
Full article: Trump to unveil plans for an ‘Arab NATO’ in Saudi Arabia (The Washington Post)