Trump accelerates the creation of "Arab NATO"
US President Donald Trump said that Saudi King Salman will not last two weeks in power without American support. Trump wants Gulf countries to increase defense spending to create "Arab NATO" against Iran.
In politics, often behind loud phrases are mundane military, economic and political interests. And Trump here is not an exception, but rather a visual confirmation of this rule.
If you look at the "tip of the iceberg", then the appeal of the head of the White House can be perceived as a direct insult. Especially in the East. That is, if not for the political and military support of the United States, the Saudi monarchy would have collapsed in a matter of days. And it seems that this is true. Unlike Iran and Turkey, Washington does not accuse the Saudi regime of violating democracy and dictatorship. Although in the kingdom, women only recently received the right to drive a car, and unsuitable journalists and preachers there are still executed.
The United States sells weapons to the Saudis, buys oil from them, and despite the redeployment of most of their bases in Qatar in 2003, the US military presence and American instructors remain in Saudi Arabia. However, the El-Udeid airbase in Qatar and the headquarters of the 5th operational fleet of the US Navy are an additional guarantee of the security of Riyadh.
Trump's main message lies elsewhere - he is trying to interact with the Arabs in the same way as with the Europeans, to make them pay for their security. If a billionaire demands from NATO countries to increase defense spending in order to “unload” the United States, in the Gulf region it is not only a matter of military affairs.
Trump wants Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar to stop artificially increasing the price of "black gold", reducing production in the framework of OPEC +.
After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the main oil producer in the world. In addition, Saudi Arabia is the second largest oil importer to the United States after Canada, which supplied about a million barrels in 2017.
Trump is guided by two motives: preparation for elections to the Congress and pressure on Iran.
Trump is preparing for the midterm elections, to win on which he needs low fuel prices. This is required by the American voter. Therefore, the White House is putting pressure on Saudi Arabia, which is not in a hurry to increase oil production in order to lower world prices. The fact is that gas stations in the United States react flexibly to price fluctuations of oil: if it falls in price, then the cost of a gallon of gasoline is also reduced. The second reason for Washington’s pressure on Riyadh is long-term - an attempt to oust Iran from export markets. Tehran currently exports up to 2.7 million barrels per day. This state of affairs does not suit America, which itself has plans for the export markets of the European Union and China.
Another motive behind Trump’s ultimatums is the acceleration of the military alliance in the Middle East, the price for which will fall entirely on Sunni countries. On October 12-13, the Gulf Summit will take place in Washington, where the creation of the Middle East Strategic Alliance, MESA or the Arab NATO will be officially announced. The military-political association of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan is planned to be launched in January 2019.
The United States is creating an "Arab NATO" for a direct military conflict with Iran. This is in the long-term interests of Israel and the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf, led by Saudi Arabia, who see Tehran’s growing influence as a threat. Washington intends to block Iran’s railway project through Iraq to the Syrian coast of the Mediterranean. However, the Pentagon is not directly going to use its own mobilization potential, since a war with Iran would entail thousands of deaths of American servicemen. Therefore, the Arabs will fight. The sure sign of preparation for war is the withdrawal of the US missile defense system from Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan.
The US National Security Council openly said that MESA is being created "against Iranian aggression." This goal suits Saudi Arabia, which, along with Israel, considers Iran to be an existential threat. Therefore, whatever Trump says, Riyadh is unlikely to go into open conflict with Washington. And in the Iranian issue, the Americans, of course, will help the Saudis. On the eve of congressional elections, the strongest sanctions will come into force - against the Iranian oil industry and the financial sector.