Jordan’s king says he supports Middle East military alliance similar to NATO

Jordan’s king says he supports Middle East military alliance similar to NATO

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Friday that he supports a military alliance in the Middle East similar to the Western-led NATO.

Speaking to CNBC, King Abdullah said that the charter of such an alliance would need to be very clear.

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“I would be one of the first people that would endorse a Middle East NATO, but the linkages to the rest of the world and how we fit in… has to be very, very clear. Otherwise, it confuses everybody,” he said.

Closer cooperation on the military front between Arab countries and Israel has been pushed by the US for several years as a way of confronting Iran and its malign activity.

Recently, US lawmakers introduced a bill in the Senate and in Congress calling for a plan to integrate Middle East air defenses in the face of Iran.

And Israeli officials have said there is air-defense cooperation with unnamed Arab countries and the US, which he claimed had already foiled Iranian attacks on the region.

US President Joe Biden is scheduled to make his first visit to the Middle East next month, with stops in Saudi Arabia, the West Bank and Israel.

Iran and warming ties between Arab countries and Israel figure to be high on his agenda. The common threat of Iran, coupled with the Abraham Accords, signed under the Trump administration between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, has drawn 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 committed to allies