Visiting Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to push the Trump Administration’s intensely anti-Iran narrative. This looks to be the focus of his speeches for the rest of his visits across Gulf Arab states.
Echoing the narrative from his big speech in Cairo, in which he set out a US agenda of continued military intervention across the Middle East, Pompeo is placing a broad focus on hostility toward Iran. This message tends to be met very favorably by the governments across the GCC.
But beyond just generally disliking Iran and making a non-specific anti-Iran posture a goal, any sort of practical policy efforts are going to be a harder sell. In particular, Pompeo is expected to continue President Trump’s goal of selling the region on an “Arab NATO” that would be hostile toward Iran.
How easily that will be sold as a formal body remains to be seen. This alliance is envisioned as Saudi-led, but generally doing what the US wants. With the US Congress souring of unconditional military backing of the Saudis, getting them to commit to this sort of military alliance may be trickier.
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