Here Is Why an Arab NATO Is Unlikely

December 19, 2018 Topic: Security Region: Middle East Blog Brand: Middle East Watch Tags: NATOSaudi ArabiaCoalitionWarForeign Policy

Here Is Why an Arab NATO Is Unlikely

A regional coalition would come with benefits but also many challenges.

MESA is also supposed to enhance cybersecurity and intelligence coordination. The feasibility of this promise is difficult to gauge due to the natural opacity of such of arrangement. The potential of expeditionary naval capacity Samaan broaches would take decades to accomplish and the shifting field of alliances in the Middle East will likely be unkind to time-intensive integration processes. Also, most potential participants see their primary threats as emanating from their immediate surroundings, so commitment to expensive bluewater ambitions are unlikely.

Where MESA can be plausibly effective is in working to replicate the capabilities the United States is currently withdrawing from the Persian Gulf and its southern coast. The GCC countries have a core interest in the security of that region and the U.S. withdrawals may create the necessary imperative for a firm commitment to that project. Still, even under those circumstances significant U.S. support would be needed for GCC militaries to be able to deploy their western armament in a manner that has a substantial effect on military assessments.

Alireza Ahmadi is a researcher and analyst focused on U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East. His work has been published by the National Interest , The Hill and Al-Monitor. Follow him on Twitter @AliAhmadi_Iran.

Image: Reuters