Egypt, Israel and Jordan are members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership; Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are members of NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. Bahrain, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates supplied NATO with troops for the war in Afghanistan. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates provided warplanes to NATO for the war against Libya.
June 30, 2022
Late last week, the king of Jordan made headlines when he told journalists that he would support a military alliance in the Middle East that was similar to NATO.
“I would be one of the first people that would endorse a Middle East NATO,” King Abdullah II told US media outlet CNBC. “All of us are coming together and saying, ‘How can we help each other?’…”
Similar rumors about the creation of an “Arab NATO” also came from other quarters.
Earlier last week, Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, said Israel had joined a new US-led network that he called the Middle East Air Defense Alliance, or MEAD….
Then at the start of this week, The Wall Street Journal reported on secret meetings held in Egypt that saw military officials from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain come together to discuss cooperating on defense.
What would an ‘Arab NATO’ look like?
Experts say any such defensive alliance is most likely to include the states that already have a relationship of some sort with Israel. That includes the signatories to the Abraham Accords – the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco – as well as Jordan and Egypt, countries that already have existing diplomatic ties with Israel.
Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait could also play a role in the alliance, and the US, widely seen as brokering such a deal, would certainly also be involved.