President Trump’s first overseas trip began on Friday as he set out for Saudi Arabia. His two-day visit to the kingdom was an “honor” and a success.
His nine-day trip includes meetings with world leaders including King Salman of Saudi Arabia, King Hamad of Bahrain, President El-Sisi of Egypt, and Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.
The president is building a “framework of an Arab NATO,” said Retired General Jack Keane. “Now we have a president with the Sunni Arabs, with Saudi Arabia, which is Iran’s strategic opponent in the Middle East, and we’re going to stand up against them.”
Trump delivered an extensive speech Sunday to over 50 Arab and Muslim leaders. While he did not mention the words “Arab NATO,” he did take a firm position against Iran, sign a massive arms deal with the Saudis, and urge the Middle East not to wait for “an American power to crush this enemy for them.” All of this suggests a NATO-like alliance is in the works.
In effect, the alliance will be a unified coalition of Sunni nations intended to counter Shi’ite Iran. Such a plan is attractive to the Sunni monarchies of the Gulf and to arms producers who will sell them billions of dollars’ worth of weapons.
It is “music to the ears” of Israel, “which would like nothing more than to distract them and the rest of the world from its atrocities in Palestine by playing on their fears of Iran,” reports The Guardian.
Others worry what will happen if such an alliance, organized and battle hardened, decides to turn on the US.
President Trump’s second stop was Israel, and his flight from Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv is perhaps the first direct flight ever between the two enemy nations.
Trump told the Israelis that he sees growing realization among Muslim countries that they share a “common cause” with Israel in their desire to counter the threats posed by Iran.
Trump also spoke about reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but White House officials have downplayed expectations for any serious progress on that front.
“We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people,” said Trump.
Editor’s note: I’m very wary of this strategy. On one hand if we can pit these guys against Iran, it would be nice not to have to fight that war with Americans. On the other hand, what happens if other alliances are formed and this “NATO” group starts eyeing Europe or Asia? Remember, the Taliban were our friends when they were fighting the Russians.