by Tahir Mustafa (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 47, No. 9, Safar, 1440)
Uncle Sam and nephew Moshe are always scheming new ways to squeeze more money out of Arabian rulers. Playing on their fears borne of insecurity, hundreds of billions of dollars have been squeezed out of them over the last two decades by selling them weapons. The ill-trained and ill-motivated Arabian armies cannot use most of these weapons. But more sales are in the pipeline.
There is little evidence that these regimes feel any more secure by acquiring vast quantities of weapons than they did without them. If massive purchases of weapons cannot buy them security, what else can they do?
Uncle Sam has come up with another idea: the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA). There is nothing strategic about the new alliance that would comprise the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) plus Egypt and Jordan. The US would act as godfather and supervise the quarrelling potentates to prevent them from coming to blows with each other.
The idea of creating MESA is not entirely new. It is a modified version of the “Arab NATO” that had been talked about even before Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017. As is customary with many of his hare-brained ideas that he periodically throws up, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman had proposed the establishment of an Islamic army to “fight terrorism.” He even recruited the former Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif to head this army. Various reports say he is paid a six-digit salary in US dollars; not a bad deal for doing virtually nothing!
The problem with the “Islamic army” is that there is no army despite Bin Salman proposing an alliance of 34 countries. The alliance pointedly excluded Islamic Iran, Iraq, and Syria — three countries most severely affected by terrorism. Since the election of Mahathir Muhammad as prime minister, Malaysia has also pulled out of the so-called alliance. Indonesia had already said it would not send troops for the proposed “Islamic army.”
There is a simple solution to fighting terrorism: Saudi Arabia, Zionist Israel, and imperialist America should stop supporting and arming terrorists masquerading as rebels, insurgents, or freedom fighters. In mid-September, there were reports that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the self-styled khalifah of the terrorist outfit Da‘ish or ISIS (or whatever other four-letter-word it is known by) had relocated to Afghanistan. Fleeing Syria would not have been possible without direct US help. Both the Russians and Afghans (former president Hamid Karzai, for instance) have publicly stated that Da‘ish terrorists have been airlifted to Afghanistan in “unmarked” helicopters. This was a broad hint that the Americans did it.
But back to the idea of MESA or “Arab NATO” or whatever other fancy label is attached to it. Taking advantage of the presence of so many Arabian rulers or foreign ministers in New York for the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gathered them to deliver a stern lecture about “working together.” This was the first time that all six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) sat under one roof after the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar was launched in June 2017. The blockade had US blessing. Others at the September 28 meeting in New York were representatives of Egypt and Jordan — both basket cases looking for financial handouts.
But here is the rub. On his Saudi visit last year, Trump had announced arms deals worth some $350 billion. Soon thereafter, the US also sold $12 billion worth of helicopters to Qatar. On September 29, Trump even announced that he had told the Saudi king that since they have “trillions of dollars” — yes trillions with a “T” — they must give this money to the US. The Najdi Bedouins, it seems, would soon be heading back to the desert!
The Saudi-Qatari spat, entirely artificial, shows how the US operates: first create a crisis and then milk both sides of the dispute. The only exception is Zionist Israel whose implantation in the heart of the Muslim East is the source of all instability. While the US rakes in tens of billions of dollars annually from Arabian potentates, Zionist Israel gets billions in free arms and other handouts.
The imperialist-Zionist duo is talking up the alleged threat from Islamic Iran. For the record, Iran has not attacked any country in 250 years. It desires peace and good neighborliness with all regional countries. The only exception is Zionist Israel, that usurper entity illegally squatting on Palestinian land.
The Arabian potentates backed by the US, Israel, and Europe even tried to destroy the Islamic Republic through the eight-year war that was launched in September 1980 but they failed. Islamic Iran valiantly defended its land, integrity and honor.
The imperialists and Zionists have sold the diabolical plot to the Arabian potentates that Islamic Iran is a greater threat to them than Zionist Israel. In what would make sense only in an upside-down world, this is true. Israel would not survive without the presence of the illegitimate Arabian regimes. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, had admitted in a moment of candor that the Arabian regimes are Israel’s first line of defence!
In pursuit of the MESA idea, the US is planning a high-level meeting with Arabian dictators in January. The aim, according to a senior US official, is to speed up forging an alliance whose principal aim would be to confront Islamic Iran.
Tim Lenderking, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian (sic) Gulf Affairs, toured the region in August and September to drum up support for MESA — a concept not dissimilar to the Arabian NATO. “The more we have coordinated efforts, the more effective in enhancing stability,” Lenderking told Emirati website The National on September 26, calling Iran the “number one threat” on the MESA list. Cyber attacks, conflict management, and Syria and Yemen were also thrown in for good measure. In both Syria and Yemen, the aggressors have failed and their policies are falling apart. It is, however, internal conflicts among these potentates that are most problematic. They behave like children, friends one moment and mortal enemies the next and at each other’s throats. The acquisitiveness of the material rather than the aspiration for the moral is endemic to this kind of fratricidal infighting.
With its militaristic policies in the region falling apart, Washington seems to be in a hurry to establish MESA as another mischief-making tool. “We [US] would like to agree on the concept of MESA by the January  summit,” Lenderking said, adding that the US was “flexible” on the date given the talks were still in the early stages. “Flexibility” is also necessary because of the fickleness of Arabian rulers. Lenderking acknowledged the ongoing rift between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt on the one hand and Qatar on the other. Pompeo’s September 28 meeting in New York failed to resolve these differences.
“In the long term, with the MESA that we envision, it would be hard to have two or three countries in this alliance in this kind of confrontation,” Lenderking admitted. “We can continue to develop the concept and work on some of the pillars but ultimately you have to see the rift de-escalated.”
The bottom line of all these manouvres is to protect Zionist Israel. Along the way, the US wants to make tons of money by selling useless weapons to the incompetent Arabian armies that train their weapons only on hapless people, whether in Yemen or in their own oppressed societies.