As US President Donald Trump hosts Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House this week on the agenda is the formation of a “NATO-style” alliance for the Middle East, according to reports.
As if one US-led warmongering alliance in Europe and the North Atlantic were not enough. Now the world will see a clone of NATO let loose on the already conflict-torn Middle East region, if the reported discussions materialize.
Instead of combating alleged Russian aggression, the putative US-led Middle East alliance – which one could designate as NATO 2.0 – is defining Iran as the top regional threat.
According to the Times of Israel, Trump and Netanyahu and their officials have been engaged for some time in planning the creation of the new military alliance that would also include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Other Arab countries involved in forming the proposed military bloc are said to be Egypt and Jordan.
“Trump trying to broker Israel-Arab NATO-style alliance,” headlined the Times of Israel, which cited the Wall Street Journal for details of the discussions being held by Trump and Netanyahu.
Already the new Trump administration has riled Iran with renewed accusations that the Islamic Republic is “the number one state-sponsor of terrorism”. The Trump White House imposed fresh economic sanctions on Tehran last week following Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles at the end of January.
Both Russia and China – close allies of Iran – have denounced the new American sanctions as provoking regional tensions. Moscow also rejected Washington’s terror accusations against Iran, saying that Tehran is a key partner in defeating Islamist extremist networks in Syria and Iraq. Russia also said Iran did not break any international law in testing defense technology.
The proposal to create a formal military alliance between the US, Israel and Sunni Arab regimes will further alarm mainly Shia Iran that Washington is pushing ahead with an unprecedented hostile agenda towards the Persian power house which is a major source of oil and gas exports.
Before his election on November 8, Trump repeatedly vowed to tear up the international nuclear accord with Iran that was negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama along with five other world leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Trump described the so-called P5+1 nuclear agreement as the “worse deal ever”.
It’s not clear if the Trump administration will follow through on its earlier promises to rip up the nuclear accord, which offers Iran relief from Western economic sanctions in return for Tehran’s self-imposed limits on developing nuclear weapons.
The United States has a decades-old military partnership with Israel and the Sunni Arab monarchs, selling them billions of dollars worth of weaponry every year.
However, the formation of a formal military alliance between the US and these states in the shape of a NATO-style organization would be seen an incendiary move by Iran.
Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the US and its Arab partners were the main backers of Iraq under Saddam Hussein which launched a war on Iran that lasted eight years and caused up to one million deaths.
Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East and has routinely joined in echoing American threats of “no options off the table” with regard to Iran – meaning that a pre-emptive military strike is possible.
The bitter irony in all this is that the real danger to Middle East peace is not Iran, but rather is Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land, as well as Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Arab monarchies funding Islamist terror groups.
The six-year that has ravaged Syria largely stems from an externally driven covert war for regime change against the Assad government which is an ally of Russia and Iran. The war in Syria has been instrumented by proxy jihadist mercenaries, including Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, which are funded, armed and directed by the US, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.
Israel is also believed to have played a covert role in fomenting the regime-change war in Syria, working in collusion with the US and Saudi Arabia. That war has been stymied due to the military intervention by Russia and Iran over the past year.
Saudi Arabia has a long, despicable history of fomenting Wahhabi terror groups going back to the 1970-80s when it funded the precursors of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to fight the then Soviet-backed government. Saudi Arabia has traditionally supplied the money and weapons while the American CIA and Israeli’s Mossad provided the military logistics and intelligence. The awarding last week of Saudi spy chief Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef by CIA director Mike Pompeo was seen by some critics as a particularly nauseating testimony of this nefarious relationship.
The very idea of this US-led axis in the Middle East now setting up a formal alliance along the lines of NATO is a harbinger of ramped up conflict in the region. And especially given the stated purpose of such an alliance being dedicated to “contain Iran”.
The US-led NATO alliance in Europe has already plunged relations with Russia into deeper hostility. The ongoing build up of NATO forces on Russia’s border – allegedly to contain Russian aggression – has stoked fears that a nuclear war could be precipitated.
NATO continually claims to be a force for stability and defense – whenever any sane-minded observer can see that the opposite is true, inciting tensions in Europe and Russia to levels not seen since the heyday of the Cold War.
The same manic double-think is being replicated in the Middle East with the latest American plans to form a NATO 2.0 with Israel and terror-sponsoring Arab monarchs.
World security is already under grave strain from US-led military expansion in Europe. How much more multiplied the danger with these reported plans to bring a second NATO-style front to the Middle East.
President Trump is coming under increasing pressure from hawkish power circles in Washington to “get tough on Russia”. The forced resignation of his national security advisor Michael Flynn this week is unleashing pressures on Trump to “prove” that he is not soft on Russia.
Trump got elected largely because of his vague intentions to curb American overseas militarism and to restore friendlier relations with foreign states, including Russia.
How fiendish then that Trump appears to be sliding towards belligerence at an alarming rate. NATO’s escalation continues apace against Russia, and if that wasn’t bad enough, Trump is overseeing a second incarnation of NATO in the Middle East to target Iran.
And this NATO 2.0 comprises rogue states that are up to their eyes in lawlessness and terrorism. Saudi Arabia is currently slaughtering civilians in Yemen with American firepower, allegedly to contain Iran.
If this is to be the new NATO for the Middle East then the world is truly about to descend into barbarism on a scale not seen since the Second World War.