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Middle East Strategic Alliance Effort Aimed at Stabilization

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2019) -- The idea of a Middle East Strategic Alliance, a security partnership between Gulf Cooperation Council nations, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, with the addition of Jordan and Egypt, was announced in May 2017.

The Saudi-drafted declaration was aimed at enhancing the partnership amongst the Arab countries of the region and the U.S. to "confront extremism, terrorism, achieving peace, stability and development, on regional as well as international stages."

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At the Center for a New American Security in Washington, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, Mick P. Mulroy, spoke about the alliance during a discussion that covered current threats in the Middle East, U.S. priorities and future plans for military involvement there.

Mulroy said the U.S. wants the MESA "to be a holistic agreement," and include economic, energy, political, and security elements.

That security portion will involve multiple components, including:

1) A focus on capabilities, which includes a center to teach best-practices when it comes to maritime, air defense, water, cyber, asymmetric warfare, and command and control.

2) Establishment of a common picture, to include joint strategy, and also identifying threats.

3) Better interoperability, to include common munitions, weapons, and better ability to work together.

Mulroy also said that MESA is not meant to establish an "Arab NATO."

"[There's] no intent to turn this into an 'Article 5'-type situation where we have a treaty and are required to defend," he said. "This is an attempt to work together with our GCC+2 -- Egypt and Jordan -- partners, to make them more effective so we can best defend ourselves and stabilize the region."

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