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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has been searching for a new mission since the demise of the Cold War, intends to expand its role into Middle East regional security among the Gulf Arab countries to protect their vast oil and natural gas reserves, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Claudio Bisogniero, NATO’s deputy secretary-general, said that regional security could be enhanced through cooperation between NATO and the Arab countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The GCC includes the six Arab countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Most of them are experiencing demonstrations for reform – some violent – or are rushing to undertake measures to offset any such political instability.

The Gulf Arab countries already have seen major political changes in Egypt and Tunisia, as well as political unrest in Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain and now Libya.

Without detailing how NATO would go about ensuring the stability of these Middle East countries, thereby lessening the threat of a cutoff to the region’s energy reserves, Bisogniero said that regional security could be enhanced through GCC-NATO cooperation.

“Security and energy are more interdependent,” Bisogniero told a recent NATO conference. “The war in Iraq, the new piracy phenomenon in the Gulf of Aden and the sabotage of energy transportation are only examples of this new relation between energy and security.”

Analysts worry instability in the region could result in food shortages, which could spark further unrest.

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