On April 17 King Abdullah II of Jordan visited the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters in Brussels in the latest act of obeisance paid to the military bloc by what Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1998 referred to, bluntly but accurately enough, as the dependent vassals and pliant tributaries of the West from the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and the South Pacific.
The Jordanian monarch’s pilgrimage was preceded by those of the presidents of Germany, Georgia and Moldova, the prime minister of Montenegro, the foreign minister of Croatia and the defense minister of Slovenia in the past month.
Top officials of nations as diverse as Israel, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Australia, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Japan, South Korea, Iraq, Armenia and Azerbaijan visit NATO headquarters regularly.
Notwithstanding the alliance’s claims of embodying “individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” so-called Euro-Atlantic or transatlantic values, it has always exhibited a propensity for elitist and exclusionary forms of national governance, particularly monarchy. The majority of NATO’s founding members – Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway – retain that pre-republican, pre-modern preference in the somewhat attenuated form of constitutional monarchies.
So it is not surprising that King Abdullah and his fellow hereditary rulers in Morocco and in the Gulf Cooperation Council feel entirely at home in Brussels.
In the NATO website’s account of his visit, “NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan for his country’s valued security partnership during talks at NATO headquarters…”
Rasmussen, faithful subject of Queen Margrethe II accustomed to bending the knee to royals, and the crowned head of state discussed NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue military partnership, Jordan’s Individual Cooperation Programme with the alliance, the Middle Eastern nation’s role in NATO operations around the world (Jordan is a troop contributor for NATO’s war in Afghanistan) and the consolidation of its global partnerships to be deliberated on at next month’s summit in Chicago.
In the press release describing the visit, NATO added, “Jordan is an important security partner, contributing to NATO led-missions in Afghanistan, the Balkans and most recently in Libya…”
Jordan was one of four Arab states present at the March 19 summit in Paris with the U.S. and leading European NATO powers that announced the beginning of the six-month bombing campaign against Libya. The other three were Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The last two are members of NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and jointly supplied 18 fighter jets for the aerial onslaught in Libya, both during the U.S. Africa Command-led Operation Odyssey Dawn and the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector phases of the war.
Less than two months into the conflict it was reported that the alliance of Persian Gulf kingdoms, sheikhdoms and emirates (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), the Gulf Cooperation Council, had invited the only other monarchies in the Arab world, Jordan and Morocco, to join, although neither country is near the Gulf.
It is this bloc of royal family-ruled nations that is the West’s main partner in effecting regime change in the Arab world from Libya to Syria to Yemen and in future in Algeria, Libya, Iraq and other nations as needed.
The eight monarchies are all NATO military partners: Jordan and Morocco through the Mediterranean Dialogue and Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates with the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, with Oman and Saudi Arabia practical if not yet formal members of the latter.
Libya had been the only country in North Africa not a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue.
Shortly after the murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi last October, U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder offered the bloc’s support in fashioning a new Libyan army and, according to Agence France-Presse, “said Libya could bolster its ties with the transatlantic alliance by joining NATO’s Mediterranean dialogue, a partnership comprising Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Jordan and Israel.”
At a NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels on December 7-8, Secretary General Rasmussen applauded the outcome of NATO’s first African war and “several NATO officials and spokespersons expressed interest in Libya joining the Mediterranean Dialogue,” the Tripoli Post reported.
Regarding transformations in the Arab world over the past fifteen months in relation to NATO, the net result is that the U.S.-dominated military alliance is poised to gain one new adjunct, Libya, with Syria targeted as the next. Lebanon is another prospect for the Mediterranean Dialogue after Libya and Syria, which if it occurs will convert the entire Mediterranean basin into NATO territory. Similarly, if the West and its Arab monarch allies can arrange for the installation of compliant regimes in Iraq and Yemen (perhaps royal pretenders to complete the pattern), NATO can acquire two additional Istanbul Cooperation Initiative cohorts as well. The alliance identifies Iraq as a partner state and the NATO Training Mission-Iraq was instrumental in building the nation’s new armed forces from scratch, training everyone from the top officer corps to oil police.
In respect to the remaining Arab-speaking countries, since at least 2005 leading American and NATO officials have promoted the deployment of NATO forces to Palestine in the event of, or as a precondition for, a peace deal with Israel. Last August Palestine’s Ma’an News Agency reported that “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told visiting US Congressmen on Thursday that the security of the future Palestinian state will be handed to NATO under US command…”
From 2005 to 2007 NATO airlifted several thousand African Union troops to the Darfur region of western Sudan, and in a Washington Post column in 2005 current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice called for the deployment of 12,000-15,000 troops there under NATO command and two years later demanded NATO enforce a no-fly zone over and deploy the NATO Response Force to Sudan.
Two years ago NATO airlifted 2,500 Ugandan and Burundian troops into the Somali capital of Mogadishu for counterinsurgency operations. NATO uses Somalia’s autonomous state of Puntland as a base of operations for its Operation Ocean Shield naval mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
Djibouti is effectively a NATO outpost in the Horn of Africa with 2,000 U.S. troops and the headquarters of the Pentagon’s Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, 3,000 French troops and, over the past decade, several hundred British, Dutch, German and Spanish troops stationed there.
Last May it was announced that the United Arab Emirates, which supplies a military contingent for NATO in Afghanistan as well as having provided warplanes for the Libyan campaign, would become the first Arab state to open an embassy at NATO headquarters.
At the above-mentioned NATO ministerial last December, in addition to revealing that “Nato officials said that they think Libya was likely to request to join the Mediterranean Dialogue,” Gulf News in the United Arab Emirates reported, “The foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) have agreed to reinforce their contacts and cooperation with Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East.”
The meeting’s final communiqué stated: “Significant political developments have taken place this year in North Africa and the Middle East. Against this background and in accordance with our partnership policy, we have agreed to further deepen our political dialogue and practical cooperation with members of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative…We stand ready to consider, on a case-by-case basis, new requests from countries in these regions, including Libya, for partnership and cooperation with Nato, taking into account that the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative are natural frameworks for such requests.”
At the 2004 NATO summit in Turkey which created the eponymous Istanbul Cooperation Initiative to forge military partnerships with Iran’s neighbors in the Persian Gulf, the Western military bloc also upgraded the Mediterranean Dialogue formed into 1994 into a full partnership program, which is to say the equivalent of the Partnership for Peace used to prepare twelve Eastern European nations for accession into NATO from 1999-2009.
Two years later Mediterranean Dialogue member Israel was the first nation to join NATO’s Individual Cooperation Programme, with Egypt following the next year and Jordan in 2009. The NATO website currently lists Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia as partners in that program too.
On April 3 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech to the World Affairs Council 2012 NATO Conference in Norfolk, Virginia that discussed the three major topics to be addressed at the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21. In addition to the war in Afghanistan and the commitment to “update NATO’s defense capabilities for the 21st century” – she mentioned drone surveillance, the European Phased Adaptive Approach interceptor missile system and patrols by NATO warplanes over the Baltic Sea – she highlighted the need “to cement and expand our global partnerships.”
The nature of those partnerships in the Arab world was demonstrated the week before her speech when the Washington Post reported of her then-upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia that “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton…will inaugurate a strategic dialogue with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council that the administration expects will ultimately lead to a coordinated, U.S-supplied regional missile defense system,” later identified as an extension of the U.S.-NATO Phased Adaptive Approach.
NATO and its allies in the (expanding) Gulf Cooperation Council are reversing 60 years of Arab independence and nonalignment, of pan-Arabism and of republican and socialist models of development in Arab nations in an effort to subordinate the 350,000,000 inhabitants of the Arab world to their regional and global agendas.