By Mohammed Al Shaikh
10 August 2018
Reports have started circulating about an intention to establish a NATO-style security and military strategic alliance between the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan to confront the danger represented in the Iranian expansion in the region.
This alliance, according to the news, is likely to be announced by mid-October. One of the most important orientations of this alliance is establishing an air defense shield that will protect the alliance’s countries from the Iranian ballistic missiles, in a way that will make Iran’s missile capabilities lose their strategic effectiveness.
This alliance, if established, will practically be part of the economic siege of Iran and will make Iran lose the capability to escalate militarily, especially that its leaders suggested closing the Strait of Hormuz in case it was prevented from exporting its oil.
In my opinion, others will join this alliance, like Turkey, despite its attempts, that are for tactical reasons, to show the strength of its relationship with Tehran. However, at the end Turkey will conform to its interests.
As for the mini-state of Qatar, it cannot rebel against this alliance because of the US Al-Udeid Air Base which is on one third of its territory. Thus any American military move to discipline the Iranian monster and curb its ambitions in the region will be launched from Al-Udeid Air Base where American jets will take off, regardless if Qatar approves or rejects this as stipulated by the agreement between the US and Qatar.
Possible Alliance Members
I also expect that other Western countries, more specifically Britain and France, will join this alliance in the future because such a strong strategic alliance makes it necessary for them to join it, not only because of its economic temptations but also for strategic reasons. Hence, it will be in these countries’ interest to keep up with the orientations of this strategic alliance on the long term and benefit from the spoils of the fall of the mullahs’ regime.
In my point of view, the most important part about these leaked reports about an Arab NATO is that there is a serious and actual intention to confront Iran on the ground to deter it from its increased tampering in the region, especially that Iran is worn out internally and is suffering from economic crises that worsen by the day.
This is in addition to the fact that its alliances in the region, especially with Russia, are not going well. The Russians will not go so far in supporting Iran in its wild actions in the region especially that there are radical differences between it and between their agendas in Syria which pertain to dividing the spoils of Assad’s victory against his opponents. Clipping Iran’s wings in Syria is thus in their interest there.
The Helsinki meeting between Trump and Putin had inevitably discussed restraining Iran in Syria, and in return, the US would turn a blind eye to Assad’s control of southern Syria via his recent invasion of the area and to tearing apart the opposition.
That is why announcing the Arab NATO which is specifically directed towards Iran puts the Iranian regime before two options: To either change its aggressive conduct which made this alliance emerge or collapse.
Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper.