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IMMINENT WARNING: IRAN ALIGNS WITH IRAQ, BAHRAIN, UAE, QATAR, INDIA, AND PAKISTAN IN NAVAL ALLIANCE

June 04, 2023

Benedetta Bisaccia, Kyle Dillon CENTCOM/AFRICOM Team

Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor


Map of the Middle East[1]


Event: On June 3, Iran’s navy commander Shahram Irani revealed that Iran plans to form a naval alliance with several Gulf States, Pakistan, and India for security purposes. Irani highlights that the cooperation between these nations has made this alliance a possibility and is necessary for regional protection.[2] Details regarding the specific structure, objectives, and timeline of the alliance were not disclosed.[3] The creation of this alliance comes with a shift in Iranian objectives in the Gulf as Iran has recently ended a seven-year period of hostility with Saudi Arabia in a deal and has improved relations with other Gulf States.[4] The United Arab Emirates is the most surprising possible member, as they withdrew from the US-led Combined Maritime Forces a few months ago which was formed to deter terrorism and piracy in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.[5]


Significance: The formation of this multi-nation naval alliance will likely have significant implications for regional security and geopolitical dynamics. The combination of Iran, several Gulf States, India, and Pakistan likely isolates other regional powers not included such as Israel and one of their major allies, the US, which has always had a stake in the region. Israel will likely perceive this alliance as a challenge to its own strategic interests in the region and will likely increase its efforts to counter Iran's activities and influence in the region by bolstering its military capabilities. There is a likely chance other members of the US-led Combined Maritime Forces will face some security strains and may reassess their security cooperation with the US and align with this Iranian-sponsored alliance. The US and its allies may respond by strengthening their presence, conducting more frequent military exercises, or increasing arms sales to their regional partners, thereby heightening regional tensions. This will likely lead to a power struggle and competition for influence, further complicating the security landscape in the Gulf and Indian Ocean regions. There is a likely chance the US-Saudi relationship will become strained with Iran ending hostilities with the country and possibly in the future influencing Saudi Arabia to join this alliance. There is a possibility Iran uses this alliance to challenge US naval power in the Gulf and become the dominant power in the region.


Recommendations

  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends that US forces and personnel in the region recognize this alliance and the potential threats that are created from this, especially toward their naval forces in the Gulf. This includes recognizing the potential challenges to maritime security in the Gulf, such as increased tensions, and rivalries .

  • CTG recommends that the US and Israel monitor developments to prepare for a larger regional threat and aggressive stance from Iran. This may involve increasing the readiness of naval forces, enhancing intelligence and surveillance capabilities, and implementing robust security protocols for bases, installations, and vessels. By bolstering their security measures, Israel and the US can better safeguard their assets and minimize vulnerabilities to potential threats that are likely to arise from the alliance.

  • CTG recommends that Israeli and US assets in the region enhance their security measures in case Iran is motivated to act upon their success with the organization of this alliance. This includes a comprehensive evaluation of existing security protocols and infrastructure to identify potential vulnerabilities and areas for improvement.

  • CTG recommends that regional countries not included in this alliance cooperate by sharing intelligence and information so they are not as easily pressured by Iran or this alliance.

  • If there is any additional and or critical information please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone 202-643-2848 or email info@counterterrorismgroup.com

 

[1] Middle East by Google Maps

[4] Iran plans naval alliance with Gulf States, VOA News, June 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/iran-plans-naval-alliance-with-gulf-states/7121448.html

[5] UAE withdraws from U.S.- led maritime coalition after security evaluation, i24 News, May 2023, https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/middle-east/the-gulf/1685517290-uae-withdraws-from-u-s-led-maritime-coalition-after-security-evaluation

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