Trump, Weapons and the “Middle East NATO”
The US president, Donald Trump, intends to reactivate a project on creating an Arabic version of NATO. The idea of “Arabic NATO” has strongly been promoted by Saudi Arabia and has been discussed at different levels for many years, however, there have been only talks so far, taking into account the fact, that the Arabs do not usually agree with each other so easily. Moreover, the US has not endorsed this idea before.
However, Trump decided to act typically as a business man and create a strong financial platform for this project, and in exchange for helping creating the “Arabic NATO”, he intends to sign the biggest contract in the 21st century with the Saudis on providing American weapon. This contract includes littoral ships, systems of anti-missile defense, heavy and light armored vehicles, wide range of ammunitions, equipment and special technics.
According to preliminary assessments, its total price is 98-128 billions of dollars and it might increase up to 350 billions of dollars in ten years. The US is also ready to localize the production of some parts of weapons and military technics on the Saudi territory.
According to American press, the negotiations were held by the US president’s son-in-low and his Counsel, Jared Kushner, and the Deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud American profit is clear: the military-industrial complex of the country will have huge orders for decades ahead. Getting American support, The Saudi Arabia can create a union coalition of Sunnite countries which can be a base for setting up a military organization like NATO and, obviously, it will run the union and will get formally military-political bonuses and strengthen its positions in endless confrontation with its main regional rival - Iran.
But, truly, the US will have to pay a huge amount of money for this and, taking into account low world prices on hydrocarbons and a prolonged war in Yemen, we can see that Riyadh does not have high possibilities for this.
War in Yemen as a mirror of “Arabic NATO”
Moreover, a potential “Middle East NATO” is planned to include Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and, probably, the other monarchies of the Persian Gulf. And, here, problems start immediately.
The all history of the Middle East shows that the Arabic countries cannot act as one front. Their leaders are not prone to agree with each other and their personal ambitious and narrow goals are always over a “common idea”. That’s why, such an union can exist only formally. And it will not be able to act as NATO which has a strict control center in Washington and not in Brussel.
We can clearly see it if we have a look how the International coalition of the Arabic courtiers acts under the leadership of the Saudi Arabia in Yemen where the war has come to a strategical dead end. And, first of all, it happened because of the contradiction between allies.
The core of the military coalition, which is fighting together with the followers of the deposed president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi against Shiite rebels - the Houthis, consists of (besides the Saudi Arabia) UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait that are also supported by Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Jordan. The Saudi Arabia asked Pakistan to help but the country’s parliament refused to approve the participation of Pakistani military in Yemen’s war.
Also, on the threshold of the intervention in Yemen, the League of Arab States (LAS), used the initiative of Saudi Arabia and agreed to create United Military Forces counted up to 40 thousands of military people, together with their air force, fleet and armors. But it forgot about it at once.
In fact, only Saudi Arabia (3,5 thousand of military people and 6,5 thousand of service staff) and the UAE (2 thousand of military of people) are waging war, however, they confront each other from time to time because of the methods of leading the war and its aims. The UAE is occupied with the war against the terrorists of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS. As for the Saudis, they prefer not dealing with the terrorists but fighting against the Houthis that are thought to be the protégé of Teheran. Although, the fight against AQAP and ISIS is announced as the aim of the Saudi coalition in Yemen.
Egypt, which has the most multiply and well-armed army in this coalition, avoided fighting in Yemen and preferred providing a back support and sending four warships to Yemen’s seaside. When the Egyptian administration declared that it intended to help Russia and Syria provide peacekeeping operation in Aleppo, it could have caused a “fuel” war between Riyadh and Cairo. The Saudis blocked the delivery of oil products to Egypt for a while.
The failure of the Persian Gulf NATO
Using advice of Riyadh, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) started to rearrange this economic organization into a military block three years ago which included six countries of the Gulf and Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.
GCC consists of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. Moreover, the” small countries” always dispute the question of domination in the Council of Saudi Arabia.
The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf thought that in case they had to fight with “color revolutions”, they would rely on the army of their allies which consisted of 300 thousand of fighters that were prepared better than fighters of GCC armies. The suppliers of soldiers, from their hand, could get an extensive economic aid.
But this idea failed because of contradictions between Egypt and Cairo. Doha did not admit the power of the military in Cairo, and announced that deposing the president-Islamist Mohamed Morsi was an illegal coup d’état. In its turn, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE took the side of the Egyptian army. On the whole, as usual, everyone quarreled in the Middle East and NATO project of the Persian Gulf got failed.