Partnerships

Middle East Strategic Alliance Effort Aimed at Stabilization

April 30, 2019 | BY C. Todd Lopez

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."

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.

Two men speak to each other, seated on a podium.
Official Talk
Mick P. Mulroy, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, discusses the U.S. future in the Middle East with Ilan Goldenberg, a senior fellow and director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security, during a forum hosted by CNAS in Washington, April 29, 2019.
Photo By: C. Todd Lopez, DOD
VIRIN: 190429-D-NU123-0006C

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.
A helicopter flies solo over the ocean.
Solo Flight
An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71 flies over the Strait of Hormuz, April 3, 2019.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Abigayle Lutz
VIRIN: 190403-N-FK318-0208C
2
Establishment of a common picture, to include joint strategy, and also identifying threats.
Two sailors stand on the deck of a navy ship.
USS Fort McHenry
Two sailors man a .50-caliber machine gun on the USS Fort McHenry during a transit through the Strait of Hormuz, March 11, 2019.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Antonio Garcia
VIRIN: 190311-M-QF372-1058C
3
Better interoperability, to include common munitions, weapons, and better ability to work together.
A service member looks through the scope on a rifle.
Scope Sight
A special operations soldier provides security during urban operations training as part of Exercise Bright Star at Muhamed Naguib Military Base in El-Hamam, Egypt, Sept. 10, 2018.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber
VIRIN: 180910-F-DY094-0262C

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."