NATO's Role in South-West Asia and the Arabian Gulf

NATO’s Role in South-West Asia and the Arabian Gulf

  • 20 December 2005

Only about a decade ago, NATO member states were
still engaged in serious debate about whether the
organization should take on missions and responsibilities
beyond the Alliance’s traditional borders. NATO’s
first military operation ever, in Bosnia in 1995, was
a controversial expansion of the zone of operation of
what was once a strictly defensive alliance. Since then
NATO’s geographical scope has expanded considerably,
including to the Middle East and South Asia.
Many of these operations are more limited in scope
than many would like and the political discussions in and
about Southwest Asia are fledgling and difficult. Still, the
trend toward greater NATO involvement in the region
is clear and NATO’s role there is likely to continue to
grow. NATO is not going to turn into a defense alliance
for the Gulf as it once did for Western Europe, with US
and European bases scattered throughout the region.
But for all the differences among NATO members and
all the obstacles to a NATO role in the Gulf, the fact
remains that the United States and Europe have and will
continue to have significant security interests there, and
NATO is the best mechanism they have for coordinating
their policies and operations. Those who have for years
predicted NATO’s demise are likely to continue to be
confounded.

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LECTURER

Tuesday 20 December 2005

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Tuesday 20 December 2005

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