‘Left out in the cold’: US scraps traditional alliances

BY ELLA BROWNLIE, AL QUDS AL ARABI (Opinion)

Extremely unusual power dynamics unfolded within the first session in the Historical General Assembly 1991 earlier today. After much negotiating and lobbying, some clear alliances have been formed, and these are extremely unlikely and unexpected relationships.

There has been a significant merge between the United States (US) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) over the issue of decolonization in Western Sahara. This alliance has simultaneously shunted other countries to the margin, including a large portion of countries who have traditionally been allies of the United States.

It is important to call into question the nature of states’ alliances because some of them appear to contradict the historical relationships between nation states, formed as a result of centuries of international engagement.

Since the end of the Second World War, the United States has been a steadfast supporter of Israel. Yet it appears this alliance is changing, as the US has aligned with the USSR, Syria and Iran over the issue of decolonization in the Western Sahara.

With Israel being abandoned by the US, many would argue there is an opportunity for Arab states to extend greater influence in interactions with the US. As the United States begins cooperation with Iran, Syria and Iraq over the Western Sahara, these Arab states have a unique opportunity to position themselves favorably with their Western counterparts, an opportunity that only strengthens the might of the Arab League.

Indeed, since the creation of the State of Palestine in 1988, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, now the government of Palestine, has been looking for the opportunity to develop a relationship with the United States.

It seems the moment is nigh for this opportunity. The US has failed to cooperate with Saudi Arabia on the issue of decolonization in Western Sahara, raising questions about the long-term oil trading relationship between the two nations.

For the rest of the Arab world, this shifting dynamic may create an opening for greater trade and interaction, particularly over natural resources like oil, with the United States and her new allies- including the USSR.

Bilateral agreement between two old foes might be impressive on diplomatic paper, but for the US this has come at the cost of old, established alliances. The Arab League must continue to cooperate with the United States on the issue of decolonization in the Western Sahara, in the hope of gaining greater bargaining power in the Israel–Palestine dispute, and positioning Arab interests first in conflicts over this territory.

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