During his upcoming visit to Riyadh, President Trump will reportedly unveil the basic framework for a new plan for an “Arab NATO,” which he envisions as formally unifying Sunni Arab nations in the region under a NATO-style command structure for wars.
Proposals for “Arab NATO” aren’t entirely new, and it’s not even clear how this would be broadly different from the existing GCC alliance, which encompasses many of the Sunni Arab-dominated states in the region anyhow. Jordan and Egypt appear to be intended to be the only non-GCC members.
Trump is said to have been discussing this plan with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince for a while now, creating an organization which the US wouldn’t be a member of, but would retain massive influence, and presumably control over.
Most of the details of the plan are still unclear, and the last real effort at such a move, by Egypt back in 2015, collapsed almost immediately after being proposed. The underlying conceit appears to be that unity would help in the war against ISIS, though in practice the war is happening almost entirely outside of the territory of these nations anyhow.
-The writer is news editor at Antiwar.com, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of non-interventionism. His work has appeared in Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times and Detroit Free Press.