The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Thursday promoted the project of a military alliance between Arab allies in the United States, allowing them to reduce their costs in the region.
Hunt the Iranian regime after eliminating ISIS terrorism. Thus we can summarize the US strategy in the Middle East, as exposed Thursday afternoon by the US Secretary of State. The culmination of his ten-day tour of eight countries in the region, Mike Pompeo delivered to the American University in Cairo a “frank and direct speech of former soldier”, as he recalled. True to the Trump administration’s obsession with denouncing the Obama presidency, the US chief of diplomacy began by referring to the former president’s Cairo speech in 2009 to underline his renunciation. The “real” new beginning “is now,” said Pompeo, using an expression used by Obama ten years ago.
In a skilful exercise of consistency of Donald Trump’s policy in the Middle East, the Secretary of State affirmed that the era of “American selfish politics is over,” arguing that its president is “a force of good In the region”.
Denying even the contradictions of recent days on the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, Mike Pompeo repeated in Cairo, as he had done the day before in Amman, Jordan, that the decision to withdraw was not questioned but that the fight against the Islamic State continues. However, he did not mention a timetable.
At the same time, he assured that Washington would continue to work “through diplomacy to drive out the last Iranian from Syria, even after the withdrawal of US soldiers.” The clearly stated priority of confronting Iran, by all means and on all terrain, relies heavily on US allies in the region, according to Pompeo. This begins with support for Israel to fight Iran militarily in Syria. The head of the American diplomacy promised that Washington would continue to “ensure that Israel retains the military capacity to defend itself against the aggressive adventurism of the Iranian regime”.
As for the Arab allies of the United States, already strongly mobilized against Iran, they are called to coordinate and “overcome old rivalries” to engage in the joint fight against Iran. A clear reference to the continuing rupture between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt on the one hand, and Qatar on the other hand, where is the largest US military base in the world. Middle East.
Next steps of his tour in the region, the six Arab countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The latter could be integrated with Egypt and Jordan in the future Strategic Alliance for the Middle East (“Mesa”, according to its acronym in English), an Arab NATO that Washington calls for. The project for such an alliance, which has been underway for nearly two years, emerged in May 2017 in Riyadh during Trump’s first trip as president in the region for a summit with his Arab allies. Trump, King Salman and President Al-Sissi had been seen laying their hands on a luminous globe as a promise of a better world.
Behind the stated objectives of fighting terrorism and pacifying Syria, the clear priority of the proposed alliance is to counter Iran’s influence and actions, as well as to contain the influence of Russia and China . But economic ulterior motives are never absent from Trump’s plans. As he asks his European NATO allies, he does not hide that one of Mesa’s main objectives is to “share the financial burden” of US military spending on the defense of the region. The future Arab NATO would have a force of more than 300,000 soldiers, 5,000 tanks and 1,000 combat aircraft and a budget of more than 100 billion dollars (about 87 million euros).
It must be remembered, however, that no Arab military alliance of this kind has ever really worked in the past. The latest Yemeni-led coalition against Yemen has been showing its inefficiency for almost four years, not to mention its many blunders. A new summit between Trump and the Arab heads of state was scheduled for this month of January to proclaim the birth of Mesa. But this appointment has been postponed, as it has been more than once in the past year.
“And what will happen to the inhabitants of the region when the terrorists are eliminated and Iran pushed back?” An Egyptian student asked on social networks after listening to Pompeo’s speech in Cairo. “I have heard only beautiful words that everyone wants to hear,” adds the young woman. Especially since the risk that a tweet Trump come undo in two lines the twenty-five minutes of speech of his secretary of state is never to dismiss.