October 14, 2019

Egypt withdraws from Arab NATO … Why?

Egypt has pulled out of US efforts to form a NATO-style “Arab NATO” with key Arab allies a blow to President Donald Trump’s administration to contain Iran’s influence.

A source said that Egypt had informed its decision to the United States and other parties concerned with the proposed Middle East security alliance before a meeting on 7 April in Riyadh Saudi Arabia

He said Cairo had not sent a delegation to the meeting, the latest in a bid to boost US-led efforts to bring Sunni Arab allies into a security, political and economic pact to tackle Shi’ite Iran.

An Arab source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Egypt had withdrawn to question the seriousness of the initiative. It has yet to see a preliminary plan that would define the alliance’s features and that a plan would risk increasing tension with Iran.

The Arab source said that the uncertainty surrounding whether President Trump will win a second term next year and the possibility that his successor will abandon the initiative, two factors contributed to Egypt’s decision.

“It is not going as it should,” a Saudi source said. According to a confidential White House document seen by Reuters last year, the initiative, first proposed by Saudi Arabia in 2017, also aims to reduce Russia and China’s growing influence in the region.

The Egyptian embassy in Washington and the White House have yet to respond to requests for comment. In addition to the United States and Saudi Arabia includes security alliance in the Middle East, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Jordan.

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