News Analysis |
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has unveiled the plan of the plausible, formal nexus between the United States of America and Arab states to protect the Middle East from what he called “external aggression”. “The aim is to achieve security arrangements in the Middle East that can protect the region from external aggression… and strengthen relations between the United States and the countries of the region,” Jubeir said.
The remarks came at the end of Gulf Cooperation Council meet up which was skipped by Qatar’s Emir and resulted in the heated exchange of word between Qatar and Bahrain. Bahrain’s foreign minister rounded on Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for disregarding a personal invite from King Salman and sending a relatively junior foreign minister to the annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting in Riyadh.
A broad scale open alliance is likely to an attempt to safeguard the common strategic and security objectives of both the United States of America and the Arab states.
Going into the specifics of the military cooperation which is under consideration Saudi FM said that it would formally be called Middle East Strategic Alliance or MESA. “Talks are continuing between the United States and the Gulf states around this question and ideas are being drawn up”.
“It’s a work in progress and the two parties want to see it happen,” said Jubeir. After the revelation, it is widely interpreted as the linchpin of the Arab states and the USA’s efforts against Iran which had been ancillary covert and economic actions against the Persian state.
Pushing Iran to the Closed Alley
Iran is already under crisis since the recent U.S sanction after the latter, under the directive of President Donald Trump and persuasion of the Gulf States, decided to pull out of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA. Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, were disgruntled with the American discourse toward Iran under President Barak Obama.
With the likeminded figure in the form of Donald Trump in the oval office, allegedly pushed by the Arabs with the financial support during his campaign, the Gulf States were able to come hard at Iran once again. The deal had allowed Iran to flex its muscles to achieve its long-term strategic objective without having to worry about the economy.
Gradually Iran started to gain hold in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, posing an imminent threat to the U.S ally Israel. But the real heat was felt when Iran managed to bring its proxies, the Houthi rebels, to Sanaa right next to Saudi Arabia’s border. A broad scale open alliance is likely to an attempt to safeguard the common strategic and security objectives of both the United States of America and the Arab states.
Future of Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition
The Yemen war dawned the ultimate divide among the Muslim countries which a military alliance compromising of all Muslim countries would come shortly to achieve. Despite being the part of the coalition, countries like Pakistan opted to remain out of the regional conflict of Saudi Arabia citing and fearing the internal backlash and resistance.
The incumbent government is focused to keep Pakistan away from any unwanted, external crisis and issues. In fact, the government has expressed a desire to mediate between KSA and Yemen.
An all-out Islamic Counter Terror Coalition which at times was even dubbed by some fervent analyst as the “Muslim version of NATO” seemed divided on the issue of Yemen where the war was practically between the Muslims. Apart from the shared threat of ISIS, the constituents had no common ground, similar to what NATO had in the form of USSR during the Cold War.
With Saudi Arabia pushing for a new alliance with the United States to pursue its own regional goals, the future of IMCTC is pushed into a state of jeopardy. But it still remains to be seen what “long-term” goal the new alliance has other than Iran, which comparatively is a soft target at the moment.
Pakistan at Crossroads?
Over the years Pakistan has been the victim of the worst sectarian war fueled by Iran and Saudi Arabia where proxies were funded to spread terror inside the country. It had become a threat to the national security of the country and ultimately the military and political elite opened a large scale, the in-discriminatory operation against all form of extremism in the country.
The incumbent government is focused to keep Pakistan away from any unwanted, external crisis and issues. In fact, the government has expressed a desire to mediate between KSA and Yemen. But keeping in view the recent aid which Pakistan got from the Kingdom, it is going to need some serious effort on Islamabad’s part if Riyadh wants a role to play.
Due to the ethnic diversity of the populace Pakistan has, the brunt will ultimately be faced on its own soil. Therefore it is very important that Pakistan distances itself from uncalled for crossfire while maintaining the cordial relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia.