22:41 GMT +328 March 2017
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    Soldiers stand on a tank of the Saudi-led coalition deployed on the outskirts of the southern Yemeni port city of Aden on August 3, 2015, during a military operation against Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies.

    Trump's 'Middle Eastern NATO' Targets Iran, Poses 'Direct Threat' to Assad

    © AFP 2017/ Saleh Al-Obeidi
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    The Trump administration is rumored to be in talks with its key allies in the Middle East to create a regional military alliance similar to NATO to ostensibly counter Iran's influence. Sputnik political analyst Andrey Veselov argued that the bloc, if created, will present a "direct threat" to Damascus, rather that Tehran.

    "Iran is a distant target of the proposed alliance. The new bloc poses a direct threat to Bashar al-Assad's government. The Syrian president, an Alawite, has received military and economic support from Iran, a Shiite state. In this respect, the new coalition could be called Sunni, rather than an Arab one," the analyst asserted.

    Washington is said to be courting Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to join their military efforts, but other regional stakeholders could join in the future. The new coalition is expected to adopt a collective response clause, mimicking NATO's Article 5. The bloc, if established, would also share intelligence with Israel. However, neither Washington, not Tel Aviv would become a formal member.

    Unconfirmed reports say that the bloc is touted as a counterbalance to Iran.

    Although the foreign policy component of Trump's America First program states that the administration is intent on embracing diplomacy and is "always happy when old enemies become friends," the US president, a fierce critic of Iran, has repeatedly indicated that his administration could back out of the landmark nuclear deal which saw Iran agree to refrain from pursuing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.

    ​In early February, Trump turned to Twitter to lambast Iran for a missile test, saying that the Islamic Republic was "playing with fire" and "put on notice." Several days later, the US president labelled Iran as "the number one terrorist state," prompting Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to say that Moscow did not share this view.

    Veselov pointed out that Trump's initiative is not new. For instance, in early 2015, the Arab League announced its plans to create a joint 40,000-strong response force, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Sudan, Jordan and other countries contributing troops. It was supposed to be headquartered in Egypt and led by a Saudi general.

    The initiative, branded as "Arab NATO," fell through several months later when Saudi Arabia asked to delay the signing of a formal agreement, the analyst explained.

    "The delay came after representatives of Egypt and Saudi Arabia bickered at an Arab League meeting. Cairo was concerned that the joint force could be deployed to Libya, which could serve as a precedent for using the new coalition to meddle in the affairs of sovereign states of Maghreb and the Middle East. Representatives of Morocco and Algeria shared Egypt's view," Veselov detailed.

    In December 2015, Saudi Arabia unveiled Islamic Military Alliance (IMA), an intergovernmental counter-terrorist alliance said to be based on the "Arab NATO" initiative.

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    Tags:
    military alliance, US foreign policy, NATO, Bashar al-Assad, Donald Trump, Iran, Syria, United States, Middle East, Saudi Arabia
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    • AnomicDust
      The Shiite crescent contains all the winners: Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon. Placing the losers in one basket won't achieve different results. Some of these "armies" are made of ISIS rejects.
    • avatar
      peaceactivist2
      Go. Go and make war, go and kill, go and eradicate each other to the no man stand is good. The earth need fertilizer any way.
    • avatar
      vigilante
      Egypt, Syria and Iraq are the only strong national armies in the region. All the others are just paper armies. Iraq and Syria are on Iran's side and would stay there. Without Egypt, there can't be an M.E NATO.
      Egypt has already declined to participate in the criminal war in Yemen. It is now seeking a rapprochement with Syria and Russia. It won't bow to the USA unless Sisi is toppled..
      The USA are trying to reassure Israel and the terrified GCC countries that it is 'tough' on Iran. The GCC countries know very well that Iran is not a military threat but an ideological threat as Iran promotes the removal of ruling families as a prerequisite to a democratical process. That is what worries these one family ruled countries.
      History shows that such ruling are bound to end, it is a matter of how and when. The USA is trying to prolong their life but like the fall of the Shah of Iran, they wont be able to prevent it, NATO or not.
    • avatar
      jasin reply toAnomicDust(Show commentHide comment)
      AnomicDust, I think another benefit is to separate the situation from Europe and the EU criminals in Brussels would have no leadership in it.
    • avatar
      francescoslossel
      i hope that Arabian bottom isn't so cheap...
    • james
      implying this proposed alliance will overtake syria is quite a stretch. russia's huge investment of time, military hardware, and bombs are not going to be just walked away from. not to mention their sappers, snipers, and others roaming the country. and what about their air and naval bases? no way they will just hand over the keys to the gates at these facilities. anyone that invades syria will have to deal with russia militarily, and no one in the middle east is going to do that, even if america says it will have their backs.
    • md74
      arab nato? Will be even worse than the worthless original nato.
    • arpito
      the counter Iran block already exists and is loaded to the hilt with American weapons. So this is a non event.
    • avatar
      Denis the Menace
      Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss!!
    • avatar
      Denis the Menacein reply tojames(Show commentHide comment)
      james, For sure! And we know that the US won't attack directly. They need a stooge to do their dirty work!
    • avatar
      Denis the Menacein reply tojas(Show commentHide comment)
      jas, Yes! Then we'd only have the Yankee criminals and their ilk to worry abouy!
    • avatar
      Denis the Menacein reply tovigilante(Show commentHide comment)
      vigilante, I don't think that you should discount Iran . They don't make much noise, but in the Iran/Iraq war, they emerged victorious against Iraq.
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