Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin on Thursday said that the Strategic Alliance of the Middle East (SAME), known as the Arab NATO, is a dangerous proposal and will create new dividing lines in the region.
“As for the creation of different coalitions, ad hoc coalitions or alliances, we believe that it would be extremely important, given the current situation, not to create additional dividing lines in the region, in the Near and the Middle East in particular,” Vershinin said. “It is a dangerous path. We should look for something that unites us in this region.”
The Strategic Alliance of the Middle East, which U.S. President Donald Trump announced as “the Deal of the Century” on April 14, is a military cooperation tool aimed at boosting an anti-Iran alliance by summoning Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.
This initiative, which was first suggested by the Arab League in 2015, has been widely promoted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton since Trump revived the idea in 2017.
So far, however, the alliance has not been successful due to discrepancies among GCC countries over Washington’s stance on Iran.
While Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain defend a hard-line policy, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman want to improve relations with the Islamic Republic.
Additionally, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced in April that his country, which has the largest army in the region, will not participate in the U.S. military initiative.