In an interview with the National news outlet, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs Tim Lenderking revealed that he has been touring the region for the past weeks to lay the groundwork for a US-hosted summit in January that would launch a strategic Arab alliance, similar to the NATO.
According to Lenderking, the priority of the new alliance, which will be named the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), will be to counter Iran’s influence in the Middle East. The main members of the US-led alliance will be Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Egypt and Jordan.
“This stems from the Riyadh summit in 2017 where everyone agreed that the US and the GCC would meet on an annual basis…we added on top of that the keen interest on both sides in building Mesa,” Lenderking said in the interview, which was released on September 27.
Lenderking added that the MESA will be based on a security, economic and political agreement. The alliance will help its members coordinate conflict management from Syria to Yemen, according to the U.S. diplomat.
Two months ago, the Reuters news agency reported that the Trump administration is quietly working to create a new security and political alliance in the Middle East in order to counter Iran’s expansion in the region.
Observers doubt that U.S. efforts will succeed, especially that many attempts had been made previously to form such an alliance. However, the fundamental differences between U.S. allies were always the obstacle. The current crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is an example of these differences.