The White House is moving forward with a plan to establish a Middle Eastern political and military alliance equivalent to NATO, it has been learned by Reuters.
Building on an idea advanced by Saudi officials prior to President Trump’s visit to Riyadh in May 2017, the White House vision for Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) would include Sunni Muslim-majority countries Egypt, Jordan, and the six Gulf region states of the Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Under the White House plan, the framework and structure of the new organization would be established to bring stability and security to the region through a joint security coalition made up of Washington’s close allies in the region.
In line with missile defense, military training, counterterrorism, the alliance would also be developed to address regional economic matters and investment opportunities which would confront reconstruction, the return of refugees and put an end to conflicts.
One significant goal of the proposed coalition is to the building of an alliance to confront Iran and block Tehran’s expanding influence in the region.
“MESA will serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism, and will bring stability to the Middle East,” said one unnamed National Security Council official.
Revelations of the new plan to reach the White House’s vision for a stable Middle East follow the administration’s decision to release $195 million in military aid to Egypt on Thursday.
Similarly, the plan was made public in the wake of further inflammatory rhetoric exchanged between Washington and Tehran. Over the past eight days, Trump and Iran have swapped threats over the potential for conflict, with Iran warning the U.S. not to “play with the lion’s tail” and warning conflict with Tehran would have catastrophic consequences.
Responding to Tehran, Trump warned via Twitter hostilities would bring “consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever seen before.”
The White House is tentatively scheduled to host Middle Eastern leaders in October to further discuss the plan.
[Reuters] [Arab News] [Photo courtesy JONATHAN ERNST/Reuters via Newsweek]