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What are the new American strategic arrangements in the Middle East?

Dr. Tarek Fahmy

The call for the recent maritime alliance – despite the existence of similar structures, such as Force 153 – came to reflect clear American aims, which are: the search for political and geostrategic alliances that would enable it to formulate urgent security arrangements regardless of the size and framework of participation of member states, as well as strengthening the supportive role of the United States for the security of Israel and to approve security arrangements that may provide protection for its security after the ongoing Gaza confrontations.

The American administration is working to progress areas of cooperation and partnership to another level that differs from temporary arrangements by showing that the current and potential crises and threats are almost the same for the alliance countries in addition to Israel. Through its efforts to build various regional security formulas, the United States relies on the activity of the American presence in the region, which enables Washington and its allies to send signals to regional opposing parties regarding the priority of the security issue for the United States and its allies, most prominently Israel.

This may lead to more key balances in the region. However, it puts everyone to the test, as evidenced by Iran’s announcement – in return – of its intention to form a maritime alliance to protect the security of the corridors in the region as a countermeasure to what the American side proposed, and this may lead to dangerous interactions and unprecedented consequences for the security of the Middle East as a whole.

Israel’s security emerges as a high priority in American policies and assessments, exceeding the security of any other country in the region, though the interrelation between American and Arab interests makes American policy cautious during the forthcoming period, especially since the American presence in the region is necessarily linked to the active participation of its allies and partners, and therefore it will be more flexible in dealing with any new security arrangement that Israel wishes to involve, especially since achieving this means that the latter will be able to operate in many circles of contact in addition to Arab and Middle Eastern strategic and geopolitical domains.

It is well known that the responsibility of the United States Central Command includes the Middle East region, as this command is considered the most prominent manifestation of the active American presence in the region, which is similar to many areas of military presence in which American forces are active around the world.

Based on the above mentioned, it can be stated that forming any maritime alliance or other structures that the United States may propose later comes within Washington aims to form a series of security arrangements related to the major tasks of American policy in several parts of the world and not just in the Middle East, where it is expected that the frameworks of security arrangements will extend to other regions, such as Southeast Asia, NATO areas, and towards the Caucasus, as well as the south and east of the Mediterranean region, where clashes with Chinese and Russian policies unfold, provided that this is done together with carrying out proactive actions to secure common interests.

Correspondently, Israel will focus on a cooperative and strategic alliance with the United States in order to secure its interests and movements, especially in the strategic neighborhood areas that are important to Israeli national security, as well as areas of relatively distant interests, such as southern Africa. According to the joint and extended alliance between the two sides, Israel may push the US towards considering important structural actions, similar to what happened with Israel’s departure from the European Command and its shift to the Central Command, a step that produced consequences that may appear negative in the course of security cooperation between NATO members and Israel, and the latter’s benefit from strategic and security advantages. However, this step has provided the opportunity for Israel to diversify its partnerships in the region, and it seems that Tel Aviv has left the task of restoring affected relations with the European side to Washington, so that it has become an entirely American task.

It is expected that there will be an Israeli military presence in multiple strategic locations based on security and military agreements with US partners in the Middle East, which means that there will be a sort of repositioning of Israeli forces in various regions that may exceed the borders of the Middle East region, which will make Israel able to direct a signal to the Iranian government that there is a great deterrent force, created by military coordination between Israel, the United States, and the coalition countries that the United States is working to form in the medium and long term.

In conclusion, regional security will be primarily linked to the ability of the United States to move the structures of security and strategic alliances in the region, and the challenges these alliances face. The Iranian reaction will also remain closely linked to the nature of Israeli movements near or within what it considers to be strategic areas for its interests, while some countries allied with Washington may move in a direction opposing American and Israeli desires and movements, in light of the widespread recognition that the security of Israel – and not the security of the region or any of its countries – is the ultimate goal of any American strategy in the Middle East.

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