'Arab NATO': Trump pursuing regional alliance to confront Iran
Washington is trying to strengthen cooperation between the countries on various fronts including missile defence, military training and counter-terrorism, as well as boosting regional economic and diplomatic ties, four US and Arab officials told the news agency.
Read more: Trump hawks regime change policy would be a disaster for Iranians
The plan to create what Washington and Arab officials have dubbed an "Arab NATO" of allied Sunni Muslim countries is expected to threaten already frosty relations between the US and Iran, who have clashed frequently since President Donald Trump took office.
The White House confirmed its plans for the security alliance had been ongoing for several months.
"MESA will serve as a bulwark against Iranian aggression, terrorism, extremism, and will bring stability to the Middle East," a spokesperson for the White House's National Security Council said.
The US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE strongly accuse Iran of destabilising the region, through generating unrest in conflict-stricken Arab countries through proxy groups.
Read more: The Gulf Crisis: Fear and Loathing on the Arabian Peninsula
How the NATO-style alliance could immediately affect Tehran is unknown, however Washington and its Sunni Muslim allies have shared interest s in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria, in addition to protecting Gulf shipping lanes along which much of the global oil supplies are transported.
Some also believe that the alliance may help overcome the Gulf crisis and foster reconciliation between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.