There are only two great powers in the Middle East – Israel and Iran – which are vying for hegemony in Islamdom. Most Muslim-majority countries have good relations with Israel (whether openly or not) and fear Iran and are on Israel’s side in the struggle against Iran. Iran has few allies in Islamdom and very few Sunni allies. Iranian nuclear weapons would however tilt the balance of power in favor of Iran and Tehran furthermore has every intention of using nuclear weapons against Israel and Saudi Arabia to attain regional hegemony and global superpower status respectively.
The Second Cold War was officially launched on September 11, 2001, but it started long before that. In fact, its first opening shot can be traced back to the Islamist revolution of 1979 in Iran and the Jihadist occupation of the American embassy in Tehran.
America has apparently decided not to strike against the Iranian nuclear weapons program since Washington safely assumes that Jerusalem will do so in its stead. One of the US lessons from the past two decades is to delegate as much as possible to US allies and the US apparently thinks that Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are perfectly capable of dealing with Iran in the stead of the US. An open military alliance of Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and possibly more states in the regions such as Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, Morocco, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan would present a powerful and credible threat against the Khomeinist empire and would be perfectly capable of imposing a no-fly zone over Iran that would encourage domestic rebellions and revolutions within Iran and provide regional rebels with vital air support.
The US should crucially encourage the emergence of a Middle Eastern equivalent of NATO and the missing piece in the puzzle is still Saudi normalization with Israel. The US itself should be a member of this military alliance but its Middle Eastern members should be collectively self-sufficient. While normalization with Israel is a matter of generational dispute in Riyadh should Washington endeavor to explain to King Salman and his generational colleagues that so much more is at stake for Saudi Arabia and the region than the long since fossilized Palestinian issue.