Wednesday, June 21, 2017

China is trying to pull Middle East countries into its version of NATO By Jonathan Fulton

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.