Jordan’s king says he backs NATO-like Middle East military alliance
Jordan’s King Abdullah II said on Friday he backs a military alliance in the Middle East similar to Western-led NATO.
Speaking to CNBC, King Abdullah said the charter for such an alliance should be very clear.
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“I would be one of the first people to approve of a NATO in the Middle East, but the links to the rest of the world and how we fit in…must be very, very clear. Otherwise, it confuses everyone,” he said.
Closer cooperation on the military front between Arab countries and Israel has been promoted by the United States for several years as a way to confront Iran and its malign activities.
Recently, US lawmakers introduced a bill in the Senate and Congress calling for a plan to integrate Middle Eastern air defenses against Iran.
And Israeli officials said there was air defense cooperation with unnamed Arab countries and the United States, which he said had previously foiled Iranian attacks in the region.
US President Joe Biden is due to make his first visit to the Middle East next month, with stops in Saudi Arabia, the West Bank and Israel.
Iran and the warming of ties between Arab countries and Israel are high on his agenda. The common threat from Iran, coupled with the Abraham Accords, signed under the Trump administration between the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Israel, has brought Arab countries and Israel closer in recent years.
A senior US official told reporters last week that some “unique” projects would be announced during Biden’s trip, including naval task forces and other infrastructure projects “being done across borders.”
Read more: Ahead of Biden trip to Saudi Arabia, White House official says US is committed to allies