Russia's Gulf Security Plan Much-Needed, Useful Contribution To Regional Peace

Russia's Gulf Security Plan Much-Needed, Useful Contribution to Regional Peace

Russia's new initiative for Gulf peace is a long-anticipated mechanism for ensuring security in the region, but the plan is unlikely to be backed by the United States and its Gulf allies, experts told Sputnik

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 26th July, 2019) Russia's new initiative for Gulf peace is a long-anticipated mechanism for ensuring security in the region, but the plan is unlikely to be backed by the United States and its Gulf allies, experts told Sputnik.

On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry unveiled the Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf Region, proposing "renouncement of permanent deployment of troops of extra-regional states" in the Persian Gulf. The concept promotes multilateralism as the core of the new security system in the region.

The initiative was voiced amid the US-Iranian tensions in the region, which started to escalate after Washington's last year decision to withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Thanos Dokos, the director-general of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, believes that the proposed concept may make a positive contribution to settling conflicts in the Gulf region as it proposes the long-anticipated regional security mechanism.

"Although the Persian Gulf is a region where Russia has limited presence and influence, its proposal may make a useful contribution because it specifically addresses one of the main problems: the lack of a regional mechanism for consultations and potential cooperation on security matters. It is, of course, a very general proposal and often 'the devil is in the details', but it could mark the beginning of a much-needed discussion about Gulf security," the expert told Sputnik.

The Russian initiative was also commended by Hooshang Amirahmadi, the president of the American Iranian Council.

"Elements of this new Russian proposal, including multilateralism and collective security under a UN umbrella, are all great and in line with Russia's own approach to international law and global diplomacy. They are also aligned with Iran's approach and thus will be attractive to Tehran. Qatar, Oman and Kuwait will also welcome the approach," he told Sputnik.

US LIKELY TO OPPOSE RUSSIAN INITIATIVE

"However, the US' closer allies, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will not entertain the approach because of opposition from the US," Amirahmadi continued.

He also pointed out that the states, involved in the Gulf region tensions, have different understanding of the term "terrorism," which is a significant challenge to the Russian initiative.

"The approach is also weakened by its focus on counter-terrorism. Unfortunately, countries in the region do not have a unified definition of this term. Groups who are terrorist for certain countries are freedom fighters for others. More problematically, the US has designated Iran' Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp as a 'terrorist' group," Amirahmadi added.

The expert recalled that the United States disliked the multilateralism concept.

"They will be particularly hostile to the Russian approach, which indirectly calls for the US withdrawal from security structures of the Persian Gulf. Russia seems to propose a Europe-type collective security framework for the sub-region, while America wants instead to form an Arab-NATO [one] under its own umbrella," Amirahmadi said.

The expert added that the United States would view the Russian initiative as Moscow's attempt to boost its influence in the region.

Dokos is a bit more optimistic about the US reaction to the Russian initiative, saying that some of the ideas may be interesting for Washington.

"Despite their many disagreements, fighting against extremism and terrorism is a common interest for both the US and Russia. Therefore, the proposal for a counter-terrorism coalition may cause some interest in Washington. However, there should be limited expectations because of the general state of US-Russian relations," the expert noted.

According to Amirahmadi, Russia should focus on defining collective security, for example, by including Moscow and Washington in a possible future collective body.

"The approach must also not involve the UN directly, which is practically speaking powerless as we saw in the case of American withdrawal from the JCPOA. Simply put, Russia and the US should act as if they are the UN in the Persian Gulf case but enshrine the collective document into the UNSC framework. In short, without direct cooperation between the US and Russia, the proposed collective security has no chance of success," the expert added.

Dokos called for more actively involvement of the civil society and non-government organizations in the diplomatic efforts.

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