The $700-Billion End of the Persian Gulf League

Monday, August 13, 2018

Hamid Reza Kamali

Senior Persian Gulf Expert

At last, rumors, which started circulating following US President Donald Trump's sword dance in Riyadh and his $700-billion extortion of Saudi Arabia, were confirmed through a Reuters report.

Domestic problems in Saudi Arabia; Riyadh’s humiliating failure in managing regional crises, especially in Yemen and Lebanon; Saudi Arabia’s inability to maintain its leadership role within the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, and so forth, have apparently caused Washington to totally lose hope in Saudi Arabia’s ability to meet the interests of the West in the region, in particular with respect to legitimizing the Zionist regime and countering the Islamic Republic of Iran. Therefore, the United States has been contemplating a new plan to form a Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) and directly lead allied government in the region while phasing out the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The new plan is to get  underway on October 12 and 13, 2018, in Washington or Camp David through a ceremony attended by senior American officials and those from the GCC members, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. This will offer Republicans, in general, and Trump, in particular, with an opportunity for propaganda to sway Congress elections.

The new plan includes three main points:

  1. From now one, presence and intervention of the United States in regional issues will be direct. No country, including Saudi Arabia, would play an axial role in any coalition and this message must be clearly understood by Europe and China.
  2. The rich governments of the Persian Gulf must totally undertake the cost of programs announced by the White House and pay the bill that Washington gives them as soon as possible.
  3. The new alliance will be targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran and Tehran’s regional allies. While finding a mechanism to solve the issue of Palestine – through the so-called deal of the century – and establishing official and open relations with the Zionist regime, the member countries of the new alliance must make Iran the main target of their political, economic, media and intelligence onslaught.

Almost no Western and Arab analyst and expert is optimistic about the results of this plan, even for the United States, as they believe that it will fail like George Bush’s the “Greater Middle East” plan, even in short term. Some of the reasons they mention for their argument are as follows:

  1. Lack of political wisdom and strategic approach on the part of Trump's team;
  2. Lack of cooperation on the part of such regional countries as Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, etcetera;
  3. Saudi Arabia’s discontent with having lost its leadership role;
  4. Resistance from financiers as  they have got tired of paying hefty money without getting results in recent years;
  5. Lack of readiness in regional public opinion to forget Israel’s crimes and counter Iran;
  6. Absence of the outlook for Trump to remain in power and low probability of continuation of this policy under forthcoming US administrations;
  7. Lack of clarity about practical results of this strategy for undermining regional standing of Iran;
  8. Historical and profound differences among members of the alliance, including between two triangles within the GCC – that is, the triangle of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain as opposed to that of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait;
  9. Opposition of other international actors, especially the European Union (including the UK and France), Russia and China, to this plan;
  10. The fact that this is an imported plan, which pays no heed to local considerations, including geoculture, geopolitics and geostrategy of the region.

The sole achievement of this plan could be preoccupying officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which may cause them to spend a lot of money in their bid to thwart it. However, chances for the failure of this plan are so high that the best strategy to be used by Iran would be to just stand by and show no serious reaction to it, while at the same time, remaining vigilant.

*Photo Credit: IndianExpress

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

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