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Egypt Pulled Out Of U.S. Efforts To Form “Arab NATO” To Combat Iran: Reports

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Egypt Pulled Out Of U.S. Efforts To Form "Arab NATO" To Combat Iran: Reports

IMAGE: eipss-eg.org

Egypt pulled out of US and Saudi Arabia’s effort to form an anti-Iranian “Arab NATO,” Israeli media reported citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.

The country told the US and other participants in the Middle East Security Alliance, or MESA ahead of a meeting on April 7th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

One of the anonymous sources said Cairo did not send a delegation to the meeting, the latest gathering held to advance the U.S.-led effort to bind Sunni Muslim Arab allies into a security, political and economic pact to counter Shi’ite Iran.

An Arab source also said that this came as a disappointment:

“We all want Egypt to be a part of an Arab NATO,” said the source, “especially as it has the largest army of any Arab nation, and because it carries importance.”

The reasons behind the decision, according to the sources, is that Egypt doesn’t wish to harm its relations with Iran, as well as it doesn’t believe that US President Donald Trump would be elected for a second term. If Trump is gone that jeopardizes the entire “Arab NATO” idea since the next POTUS may decide not to follow through.

On April 9th, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi visited the US and met with Donald Trump. Trump said that they spoke of security issues, but the Arab NATO nor Iran were mentioned in the press conference following the meeting.

Both leaders praised the warm relations between the countries, which could presumably be spoiled if the reports of Egypt giving up efforts are true.

In addition to the US and Saudi Arabia, the MESA proposed participants include the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Jordan.

Two anonymous sources also told Al Jazeera that the project would be moving forward and that Egypt would be pressured into not revoking its membership. The project was initially proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2017, and was perpetuated by US President Donald Trump.

The aim of the Trump administration with the project is to form a a new security body comprising Sunni Middle Eastern countries that would be geared toward countering Shiite Iran’s ‘regional adventurism’. Reportedly, MESA member-states would seek deeper cooperation in the realms of missile defense, military training and counter-terrorism, while strengthening broader political and economic ties.

“It would serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism and will bring stability,” a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council asserted in reference to the potential association.

“It’s not a new project. However, its implementation is what matters,” said Qassem Qaseer, a Lebanese political analyst. He confirmed that the US has been working with Arab states for a while now to form such a body, noting that “the issue remains with the different agendas and political approach of its member of states.”

Qaseer said that the Arab countries don’t agree on more than one critical issue, pointing out that the Arab NATO is still an idea with no structure.

“They aim to pressure Iran on the ground by such initiative, although, they need to make it a reality first,” Qaseer said.

A Saudi political analyst, Sulaiman al-Oqaily, also said that there must be one strategy among the Arab nations that form the alliance, as well as a clear target in order for such an endeavor to succeed.

Al-Oqaily claimed that there must be one united Arab bloc that has agreed that the “Arab NATO” would protect the Arab world from all kind of threats and security challenges. “Its members’ motives and determinants have to be the same.”

Al-Oqaily says that the sectarianism with which Iran targets the Middle East is more dangerous than Israel.

“Iran is taking advantage of its culture and religious links to the Arab world to expand there and destroy it. Israel can’t violate the Arab society like Iran, but through its intelligence services.”

Between November 10th and 13th, 2018, Egypt hosted the Shield of the Arabs 1 military exercise, with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Jordan.

Egyptian military spokesperson Tamer al-Rifai back then said the exercises were part of Egypt’s efforts to enhance military cooperation with other Arab countries but declined to speculate on whether they could evolve into some sort of a military alliance. 

Egypt on the other hand, appears to have stable relations with Iran currently.

Iran hailed the reports of Egypt giving up on the efforts. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was cited by the IRNA News Agency, praising the possible decision.

He said that it wasn’t yet confirmed, and Iran was examining whether it was true, but if it was confirmed it would be “welcomed.”

“Egypt is an important and powerful country both in the Arab and in the Muslim world that can play a key role in creating peace, stability and security in the West Asia region,” said Qasemi.

He said that Egypt can exercise realism to help foster unity among Muslim countries and bring them closer together.

Qasemi expressed hope that Egypt, ‘as an undeniable power of Arab world’, can carry out its historical duty in the most sensitive conditions of the region.

In addition the decision, if it were true, would help foster better relations in the region and assist in fighting terrorism, provide security and sustainable stability, and give a boost to mutual understanding and multilateral cooperation.

Qasemi also expressed Iran’s doubt that the Arab NATO endeavor would be successful, arguing that NATO was founded in Western world ‘under certain historical and geographical conditions, based on a series of certain values and necessities and even very certain commonalities’ which is not likely to be copied in the Arab world.

Egypt’s relations with Russia also appear to be on the rise. Russia is a key partner of Iran, especially in Syria.

On March 18th, Russian outlet Kommersant reported that Russia had inked a $2 billion contract for the delivery of 20 fighter jets to Egypt.

The contract was signed at the end of 2018 and delivery of the aircraft, as well as weapons for the planes, will begin as early as 2020-21.

Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) said that no contracts for aircraft supply were signed in the second half of 2018. So the report may be false.

Regardless, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on April 9th warned that Egypt would be subject to US sanctions if it did, in fact, purchase the Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

“We have made clear that systems were to be purchased that… would require sanctions on the regime,” Pompeo told the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “We have received assurances from them, they understand that, and I am very hopeful they will decide not to move forward with that acquisition.”

Earlier, on October 17th, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also signed a strategic cooperation treaty designed to increase trade, military, and other ties between their two nations.

Putin said the talks encompassed “the whole spectrum of bilateral relations as well as key international and regional problems.”

He added that he and Sisi discussed expanding arms trade and military ties, pointing out that Russian and Egyptian paratroopers were conducting military maneuvers in Egypt.

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  • Lena Jones

    The US thinks it can just punish allies for buying Russian bang-bang without consequences? Even a small consequence at some point in time? They’re evidently suffering from severe Pharaohnia in DC.

    • FlorianGeyer

      I do like your linkage with the Egyptian Pharaohs :)

      • VeeNarian (Yerevan)

        Classic!

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      or plain stupidity and short sight, since they are running fast out of time and they do spastic moves, but is wrong to underestimate their ability to inflict damage to the ones opposing them, for the time being.

      • Lena Jones

        They’re running out of workable ideas – yes, this makes them most dangerous.

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          that is t new is been going on ion all the wars they started since their aim is to destroy and steal and enslave. A formula that proven their down fall. But you are right now they are cornered and nothing they come up works for them and it is what make them highly dangerous.

    • Zionism = EVIL

      CAIRO – Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar in Cairo on Sunday to discuss developments in Libya, Sisi’s spokesman said.

      No other details about the meeting were immediately available. Haftar’s forces have been conducting a military offensive to take control of the capital, Tripoli, since early April with Egyptian, Saudi and UAE support and military advisors.

    • verner

      nah just befuddled criminal insanity and of course unsatisfied avarice.

  • FlorianGeyer

    An Arab ‘NATO’ led. of course, by the US would only replicate the existing NATO as it exists today, as proxy military gangs to further Israeli/US hegemony and to give faux respectability to US thievery.

    • Garga

      You’re right and that’s the whole point.
      They know they can’t sustain their military in it’s current conditions. Bloated, ineffective, inefficient and insanely expensive. They’re not going to let go of their plans for the whole world, so what’s the solution?
      A NATO for every corner of the world: NATO in it’s original geographical area, where every member pays as much as USG says or sanctions, an Arab NATO for MENA, where every Arab country pays as much as USG says in blood and money or sanctions, a Latin American NATO where every country pays as much as USG says in money and blood or sanctions and perhaps a South-East Asian NATO where every….

      The Arab NATO was started until Sisi’s alleged decline killed it, Africa may be under this NATO or the US gift it with one of it’s own, where every… you know the rest! The Latin American NATO is also in the first stages by “inviting” Brazil into good ol’ NATO.

      But, will it go according to the plans? Unfortunately for them, reality is not as stupid of the planners and it’s not afraid to be sanctioned!

      • FlorianGeyer

        The greatest weakness have is that the US public are so immersed in the Videogame / Hollywood style propaganda of US wars without thousands of body bags being sent home, that the US military cannot now risk losing thousands of troops abroad in a real shooting war.

        Those who do die today are often the warrior misfits of the US Special Forces , who are not well liked and seldom missed at home or abroad.

      • zman

        Looks like the Gulf nations were not the only ones who saw that the only real army in the area is Egypt. It also seems that Egypt isn’t quite so eager to be the enforcement arm, ala USA, for the GCC. Ending up as a target for Iranian missiles might had something to do with it…although they have fairly up to date Russian ADS. Seems that all these MENA countries are a bit gun-shy lately. Who knows when another ‘spring color revolution’ might occur? or for what reason. Are they starting to have to take the reaction of the public into consideration? Of real concern for the US is their insistence on procuring Russian weaponry. Maybe the threat of impending US sanctions had the opposite effect? That might be a sign of mass dis-affection or a turn towards Russia. We can only hope.

    • zman

      My take is that this is an Israeli creation…to be ‘led’ by their proxies in the GCC. Israel can’t be a part, but their crony proxies can. Their target is of course Israel’s main enemy Iran. A mere coincidence.

    • Rob

      Coming out from the influence of carcinogenic viruses in Washington and Briton is a good omen for Arab world.

  • Promitheas Apollonious

    uk/usrael trying to replace turks with egyptians in their middle east project does not seem to be going so well. I wonder why.

    • BL

      The Jews are running out of useful idiots to do their bidding.

  • Xoli Xoli

    Destabilizing agenda were given a blow .Good shot Egypt ISIS have failed now USA wants nation against nation war to achieve its depopulation secrets.

  • Zionism = EVIL

    This should hardly come as a surprise as Egypt and Iran are both ancient civilizations with a history of mostly positive interactions. Egypt had even made it clear to the Saudi cowardly scum that it will not fight against fellow Arabs or Muslims and this is part of Egypt’s slap to the idiot Erdogan who is crawling up Putin’s arse in dividing Syria and also destabilizing Libya with Salafist terrorists..

    • Gregory Casey

      I agree with more than half of what you said. I disagree with you on Zarif.

  • John

    I don’t get ‘Arab NATO ‘. First of all, it can’t be NATO since it is nowhere near the Atlantic. :P

    More importantly, Iran has all it needs. I has secured trade with Iraq, expanded ties with Syria and has a strong base of support in Lebanon. This is all backed up by the SCO. It is a done deal, you stupids in D.C.. The clock cannot be rolled back. Within a relatively short period of time, the BRI initiative will be humming along and the “Arab NATO “gang that can’t shoot straight, will be on it’s knees clawing to get on board. Only people like those who take up positions in the current US Presidents administration, could be delusional enough to think that a band of worthless fighters, like those from the GCC, would a better group lumped into one plop.

    DoS, NSA, it’s not the 1950’s. Please exit the time warp. My take. I wish well to all.

    • Barba_Papa

      When they mean an Arab NATO they obviously mean an organization with a similar structure, not the same name and geographical location. And you’re right of course that things will be different. No Arab country is really afraid of Iran in the same sense that some European countries (Baltics, Poland) fear Russia. The Iranian military is hopelessly outdated and outside of the Shia crescent Iran has no proxies to use. Only Israel really fears Iran, and it can’t be part of Arab NATO. An Saudi Arabia only fears Iran as a strategic rival. The promise of Saudi money might lure some Arab countries to join a Saudi and US led Arab NATO. But the Saudi’s are getting stingy, they no longer have the bottomless coffers, and with MBS they have a leader the rest of the Arab world don’t like. Meanwhile the Chinese also have shitloads of cash to throw around, so many Arab countries are no longer dependent on Saudi handouts to keep their countries afloat. They can now play the Saudi’s against the Chinese for even more cash. The Americans don’t matter in that regard, for while they can punish through the stick of their sanctions, they have no carrots to give away.

      • John

        I don’t buy the story where Iran has no tech. Truth is the US relied heavily on Iranian scientists, as far back as the 1950’s. The hack on the US CIA by Iran blew a hole a mile wide in US intelligence capabilities world wide. Iran has been very smart in building systems that do serious damage. Their current missile arsenal is one thing that has been demonstrated to great effect.

        Iran basically, was a trading partner with the Gulf entities for a very long time. Even in the UAE there is a record of trade going back about 1000 years. All the moves by the US are huff and puff. They do no represent anything close to reality or longevity.

        I do agree about the financial state of affairs, not only with the KSA but, will extend it to the UAE too. The party is over. My take, I wish you well Papa.

        • Barba_Papa

          The Iranians have tech. Theirs is a very advanced society, probably more 1st world then some of those in Europe. As many Iranians go to universities as young people do in the US and Europe. They are well educated, probably the best in the Middle East. They are also not lazy buggers as the Saudis and the other Gulf Arabs, who prefer to let others do the dirty work for them. What they lack is access to modern weaponry. Most of it is still from the days of the Shah. No country has ever managed to design a modern weapon system like an aircraft or tank from scratch. All countries that start their own production usually take an existing design and clone it, and then gradually modify it, until many years later they finally master the art of really producing their own designs. And Iran is still at least a decade away from that stage.

          And there is also something seriously wrong with their procurement system as they have obviously not bought as much modern Russian and Chinese military hardware in the 90’s and 00’s when they still could, before the sanctions. The negotiations with Russia over the S-300 were arduous, as the Iranians preferred to only by the tech, while the Russians preferred to sell at least a decent amount of hardware as well, to give their own factories something to do. So I reckon what both countries ultimately settled on was the bare minimum Iran was willing to buy and the bare minimum the Russians insisted on selling before handing over the tech so the Iranians could build their own copies. I reckon that if the Iranians had been willing to buy more Russian military hardware they could have had an air force with more modern aircraft then 70’s US gear and a few 80’s Russian design.

    • sam_koll

      First of all, it can’t be NATO since it is nowhere near the Atlantic. :P
      A whole new meaning to ‘ships of the desert’ … Arab NATO

  • Joe Kerr

    China’s OBOR is planned for the ME as well, and Egypt sees where its future lies. MBS recently left China with his tail between his legs, after China rejected his anti-Iran overtures… and must now ponder when to sell his oil in rmb as China has just given Trump his trade war surrender requirements.

  • VeeNarian (Yerevan)

    The Arab puppet leaders are a real embarrassment to their people. These Arab “leaders” are real US arse-lickers, only beaten by their EU counterparts: May, Macron, Merkel, etc. Could it really be that USD drop off the US arse when these leaders lick them?
    Could this be true? It would defy human evolution, but it could be done with genetic engineering.
    Iran has just a few months to beef up its air defences with S-400s or they will be next for an invasion, with Arabs as cannon fodder?
    I bet they were planning to use Egyptians and Pakistanis as dupes.
    With Egypt out of the way, it is time for Pakistan to wise up too, and the whole US Evil Empire plans will go up in a puff of cannabis smoke.

  • Nowruz

    Sisi is a puppet of the zionists. He will join “Arab Nato” as long as the price is right. This is just a bargaining measure. Keep in mind, Egypt’s closest ally is Saudi Arabia…

    • RichardD

      Egypt didn’t get involved in the Yemen quagmire with ground troops like before. Which cost them the war with Israel. Only a fool would look at the Egyptian economic and military build up and Russian basing agreements and view that as a non threat to Israel. Even if an attempt is made to present it as that. Hamas is hitting Israel on a regular basis. That wouldn’t be happening without Egyptian support. Egypt doesn’t want a major conflagration. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t support using military assets as part of an international force armed with nuclear weapons to get the Israel problem corrected.

  • BL

    The Jews are forever looking for proxies to do their bidding. Currently the world is divided into two camps, the camp of useful idiots working and fighting for global Jewish domination and the camp of independent nations resisting that domination. There really is no third camp on the planet, you are either a useful idiot of Jews or are an enemy of Jews and being targetted and demonized in their global media 24/7. If you’re living in a nation that is not being demonized in Western Jew media and being sanctioned and targetted then you are a useful idiot working for Jewish interests.

  • Estranghero Arafat

    Arab shouldn’t allow to be dominated with US Interference. ARAB Nato Organization is PLANNED By Munafiks KAFIR. ISLAMIC COUNCIL is enough.

  • JustPassingThrough

    these arab countries should wake up to the fact that they are being played, as they’ve always been played by the west. christians of various sects seem to live with each other with a lot more tolerance than the sunnis and shites do. isn’t there some arab leader with a bit more common sence and a little less religious testosterone out there that can help facilitate this truce?

  • Rodger

    What would Egypt gain from joining this group? Nothing (well more islamist influence in their country.
    The best way Egypt can promote peace is by not giving the Saudis enough confidence to go to war.

  • What the US really tells Arabs is:
    1. You Arabs are not worthy of being brought into NATO [Not my intend to disrespect Arabs]
    2. You Arab countries must join together to have any chance against Iran.

  • Omega

    Aside from forming an anti-Iran coalition, the plan for the “Arab NATO” will be to thwart Russian and Chinese influence in the region.