Home/Daniel Larison/The U.S. Should Have Nothing to Do with an Arab Anti-Iran Coalition

The U.S. Should Have Nothing to Do with an Arab Anti-Iran Coalition

The Trump administration is trying to create an Arab military coalition against Iran:

The new alliance would expand upon the existing Saudi-led coalition of Sunni countries fighting in Yemen, the officials said.

The new alliance’s first test would be in Yemen. The U.S. would step up military aid to the Yemen campaign [bold mine-DL] and secure the Red Sea, a vital global shipping route threatened by the war, according to two officials.

It seems that the Trump administration is not just preparing to increase its support for the indefensible war on Yemen, but wants to create a formal organization so that regional clients can do the same sort of thing elsewhere in the name of “countering” Iran. If Yemen is the model for what this coalition is going to be doing, it will be a menace to its neighbors and will likely produce more instability.

The chief problem with the idea of this coalition is that it relies on exaggerating the threat from Iran to make it seem necessary. There is no need for a coalition to counter Iran in this way, because Iran is not as powerful as they are often made out to be. A mutual defense pact among these Arab states would at best be superfluous, and at worst the coalition would enhance its members’ ability to interfere in their neighbors’ affairs when it suits them. It is likely that this coalition would become a vehicle for launching attacks on neighbors in the name of “opposing” Iranian influence where it is already negligible (as in Yemen) or non-existent. The U.S. should never have supported the Saudi-led war on Yemen, and it shouldn’t have anything to do with this proposed coalition.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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