- US, Qatar Discuss Plan to Create ‘Arab NATO’, Expansion of Largest Gulf Airbase
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatari Deputy Prime Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah met in Washington to discuss the Trump administration’s proposal to create an Arab security alliance, the State Department said in a press release on Wednesday.
“Secretary Michael R. Pompeo met today with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Khalid Al-Attiyah,” the release said. “The Secretary and the Deputy Prime Minister discussed working toward a Middle East Strategic Alliance, anchored by a united GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), to advance prosperity, security, and stability in the region.”
President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed creating the Middle East Strategic Alliance, an Arab security pact widely referred to as an “Arab NATO,” made up of the six Arab states of the GCC along with Egypt and Jordan.
The goal of creating such an alliance of Sunni Arab states would be to counter the growing influence of Iran in the Middle East, US officials have said. Similar US initiatives to establish a collective Arab security pact have failed in the past.
The Trump administration’s efforts to create the alliance have been hampered by an ongoing rift between Qatar and the other Arab states in the GCC. In June 2017, GCC members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, along with Egypt, severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism. Qatar has firmly denied the accusations.