The New Middle East Alliance

The truly historic moment in the Middle East will come when the U.S. and Iran resolve their standoff.

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During his visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a plan to establish the Middle East Strategic Alliance, a group ostensibly meant to combat terrorism but in reality meant to counter Iran. The plan would have comprised the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan, Egypt and the United States, but after Egypt withdrew in 2019 over objections to joining a military pact arrayed against Iran, momentum for the alliance died. But now it’s back, courtesy of the recent peace accords that normalized Israel’s relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The U.S. expects Israel and the UAE to play a crucial role in the new alliance, which will likely attract additional Arab countries. However, the complexity of Middle Eastern politics makes it unlikely for the new coalition to take off, not only because regional powers – such as Turkey, Iran and Egypt – will oppose it but because Israel and the UAE have different agendas for getting into it in the first place. The UAE and Saudi Perspectives After the first Gulf War, the GCC signed the 1992 Damascus Declaration with Egypt and Syria to defend the Gulf states against foreign attacks. The deal floundered, though, […]

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Hilal Khashan
Hilal Khashan is a Professor of political science at the American University of Beirut. He is a respected author and analyst of Middle Eastern affairs. He is the author of six books, including Hizbullah: A Mission to Nowhere. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019.) He is currently writing a book titled Saudi Arabia: The Dilemma of Political Reform and the Illusion of Economic Development. He is also the author of more than 110 articles that appeared in journals such as Orbis, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Middle East Quarterly, Third World Quarterly, Israel Affairs, Journal of Religion and Society, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, and The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.