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>> Your representatives.>> The Trump administration is asking Arab allies, like Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf monarchies in the Middle East, to help counter Iran's expansion in the region as tensions rise. Sources say the initiative, informally called an Arab NATO, would involve banding more closely together on counter-terrorism, missile defense, military training, and a range of other issues.
Yara Bayoumy is on the story.>> In part, this alliance would formalize like-minded Sunni allies, who do see Iran as an increasing threat in the region. Its main goals is really, in part, for the US to reduce its financial burden in this region, in part by making those countries more capable and able to take on a bunch of regional threats.
>> It would likely inflame already high tensions with Iran, with whom President Donald Trump and his top officials have been waging a war of words, in the week Reuters exposed a Trump administration messaging campaign to erode support for Iran's leadership. But such an alliance wouldn't necessarily be easy.
The Gulf states are still enmeshed in a year-long conflict, pitting Qatar against its neighbors.>> Some of the Gulf Arab states instituted a boycott against Qatar last year, because they accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and being closer to Iran, both allegations which Qatar has vehemently denied. Qatar is, of course, home to arguably the most important US air base in the region, from which the US carries out its counter ISIS campaign.
But it is something that the US, and something the Saudis and the Emirates are very, very keen on. Because theoretically, if it does come off the ground, then you would see a more robust and more allied force in general being able to be an effective counter to Iran.
>> Trump's communications offensive against the government comes soon after he pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal and moved to reimpose tough sanctions. While Iran's leaders have said they will not back down.