The Washington Post - June 21, 2017
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a Central Asian
security bloc led by China and Russia that is often described as a
future Eastern counterweight to NATO.
It held its annual summit last week in Kazakhstan, and the most
significant outcome was the announcement that India and Pakistan became
its first new members since being formed in 2001. The evolution of the
SCO looks set to continue, with Iranian membership gaining momentum and
Turkey’s an increasing possibility.
If this initial expansion of
the SCO into the Middle East happens, it is likely to spark interest
among Arab states to apply as well. Washington’s muddled response to the
current dispute between the GCC and Qatar, combined with the perception
that the U.S. is disengaging from global leadership, gives leaders in
the Middle East reason to look to as many external powers as possible as
potential security partners.