At the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, the US held secret meetings in March with top military figures from Israel and the various Arab states in the Middle East. The focus, as ever, was on Iran.
The US has been floating the idea of a special anti-Iran NATO for awhile, envisioning uniting those nations in their mutual hostility, and coordinating with them on a whole instead of having anti-Iran talks with a dozen nations one at a time. There might even be a cost-sharing component.
The reason this hasn’t happened already is that all anti-Iran sentiments are not created equal, and as much as the US tries to fit them all into the Israel basket, since Israel is the one that drones on about Iran the most, the context just isn’t the same for Gulf Arab states.
Some nations may have ideological differences with Iran, along the Sunni-Shi’ite divide, while others envision Iran’s size and potential economy as a challenge to regional hegemony. Still others have smaller disagreements dating back more recently, which was enough to get them shoved into the anti-Iran box.
These individualized anti-Iran policies, with the US cheerfully validating each, have gone on for so long that many of these nations may ultimately be unwilling to unify with nations viewing the issue differently, that Israel doesn’t want a threat to its military supremacy among regional powers, whereas a nation like Qatar simply doesn’t care about that.
It’s not hard to see why the US sees a one-size-fits-all approach as desirable. Jordan’s King Abdullah has also endorsed the idea, though its less clear what they stand to gain from it. A few big nations beholden to the US might be sold on the idea, but for smaller, less clear antagonists to Iran, it’s not clear how they’ll be sold on it.