Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Arab NATO Plan Being Studied to Fight ISIS, Isolate Iran | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)

London, Brussels, Moscow – A NATO-style alliance for the Middle East was discussed on Thursday during a NATO summit, attended by US President Donald Trump in the Belgian capital Brussels, where leaders agreed to further discuss the so-called “Middle East Treaty Organization” METO that would mainly fight ISIS and isolate Iran.

Western diplomatic sources said that the Trump administration was very enthusiastic about the plan and had brought up the issue with several Arab leaders.

The aim of the new plan is to achieve joint priorities between Washington and regional states, including the defeat of ISIS, fighting terrorism, in addition to facing the Iranian treats and to draw a new map of regional alliances through establishing joint forces and intelligent information sharing.

A diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday: “The plan is moving forward and is being studied. There has been an agreement to hold further talks concerning its establishment, and to reach a deal concerning its targets, mechanisms and the means to achieve them.”

The diplomat added that one issue of dispute is related to the headquarters of METO, before suggesting Brussels.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced Thursday an Action Plan on how to step up NATO’s efforts in fighting terrorism and to “to join the Global Coalition fighting ISIS.”

He added: “This will send a strong political message of NATO’s commitment to the fight against terrorism and improve coordination within the Coalition. But it does not mean that NATO will engage in combat operations.”

The issue is expected to create a strong dispute with Turkey, because fighting ISIS means supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces, which includes Kurdish People’s Protection Units, considered by Ankara as a terrorist organization.

Also in Brussels, Trump had called on NATO leaders to focus on the threats from Russia at the top of their agenda, a demand that was not welcomed by all member-states.

“The NATO of the future must include a great focus on terrorism and immigration as well as threats from Russia and NATO’s eastern and southern borders,” Trump said at NATO headquarters.

On Thursday, Moscow warned from the escalating tension in northeast Syria in light of the Turkish threats to launch a military operation against Kurds.