04/13/2019, 09.45
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Cario opposed to the "Arab NATO" wanted by US to counter Iran

HIgh ranking US advisors behind Middle East Security Alliance (Mesa) . The goal is to contain the Islamic Republic and stop the growing influence of China and Russia in the Middle East. Among the other internal countervailing factors is the murder of the Saudi dissident journalist Khashoggi and the tensions between Riyadh and Doha.



Cairo (AsiaNews) - The United States' international anti-Iranian front is beginning to crack: a few days after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's official visit to Washington, where he met the White House tenant Donald Trump , Cairo has made a u-turn and withdrawn its backing for the "Arab NATO"  project.  The inititive was  launched by the US advisors to counter the Islamic (Shiite) Republic, considered its number one enemy in the Middle East.

According to Egyptian government sources, Cairo reported its decision to the United States and other member countries of the Mesa (Middle East Security Alliance) on the eve of the meeting in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia,  April 7 last.

Egypt has not sent any delegation to the summit, wanted by Washington to cement the economic, political and security pact of the Sunni Arab bloc against Tehran.

The Cairo government, an Arab source said speaking on condition of anonymity, decided to withdraw because it doubted the seriousness of the initiative and to avoid the danger of new tensions with Iran. Added to this is the weight of an uncertain future for the US political landscape, with doubts about the re-election of current President Trump for a second term and the hypothesis that a change in the White House could bring about changes in foreign policy.

The idea of ​​an  "Arab NATO" emerged for the first time in 2017 under pressure of Saudi Arabia. The goal, as revealed by a Reuters inquiry based on US government secret documents, was to counter the growing influence of China and Russia in the Middle East.

The Egyptian embassy in Washington and the White House did not want to officially comment on the news. Among the countries that should form the MESA - in addition to the United States and Saudi Arabia - include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Jordan.

Some sources report that the plan aimed at the creation of the organization is continuing and the member countries will try to exert new pressure on Cairo so that, in the near future, it will change its mind and enter the alliance. After all, according to some, the choice of President al-Sisi is not final and much will depend on developments in international politics in the coming months and on the result of the US elections.

The presence of Egypt has a more than symbolic value for the "Arab NATO", also because Cairo has the largest and most structured army in the whole Arab world. Added to this are the tensions that emerged towards the end of last year, following the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed and dismembered within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Another critical element is the crisis that has been underway for over a year between Riyadh and Doha.

Contrasts, disagreements and envy caused the postponement of the constitutive act of the alliance. The strongest supporters for the initiative is the US national security adviser John Bolton, one of the hawks of the Trump administration, the creator of the current containment strategy - who does not exclude open war - with Iran.

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