The shared threat from Iran and a common ally like the United States have helped bring to light a new axis in the Middle East that breaks decades of Arab consensus on Israel. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan have normalized their relations with the Hebrew state without the latter having to recognize a Palestinian state. Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS) met with Benyamin Netanyahu in Neom, on the shores of the Red Sea, in a secret meeting that neither side did anything to hide.
The replacement in the White House and the arrival of Joe Biden, who has expressed his desire to return the United States to the nuclear agreement signed with Iran in 2015 and from which Trump left in 2018, sow nervousness among those who have been firm allies of the Republican president and prepare for the new scenario. Two months to go and the countdown has started with the assassination of the father of the Iranian nuclear program in Tehran, a crime for which Iran blames Israel and will have an answer.
“The agreements are based on national security and the sentiment we share regarding Iran. At the same time, they have great economic potential in fields such as trade, tourism, transport, communications, technology, energy, finance, health or climate change ”, indicates a report by the Institute for National Security Studies ( INSS), one of Israel’s leading strategic study centers, referring to the so-called Abraham Accords, named after the father of monotheistic religions.
Morocco or Oman could soon adhere to these pacts, but the one who would really mark a before and after would be Saudi Arabia, with whom the Israelis have had unofficial contacts for years, but which for the moment resists normalization.
This is how the regional actors involved in this anti-Iran axis position themselves
United Arab Emirates
Sale of the F35
Sale of the F35. Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed, the most important figure of the small Gulf country, was the first to move the card and publicly announce normalization with Israel. The Emiratis justified this step on Netanyahu’s promise to temporarily halt the annexation of the West Bank. The first consequence after the signing of the so-called Abraham Accords, in which Bahrain also took part, was the green light by the United States for the sale of the F35 fighter jets. Washington has always followed through on its commitment to ensuring Israel’s qualitative military superiority, but the normalization agreement could include a similar promise to the UAE.
Emirates is the second largest economy in the region and has the world’s seventh largest oil reserves. A new market possibility opens up for the Israelis. In the world of tourism, despite the coronavirus, this window has already opened with the first commercial flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai. Local media put more than 300 scheduled connections between the two countries in December, which will mean the arrival of 50,000 Israelis in the Gulf.
Prepared for a US attack on the Islamic republic
The Axios portal reported that the Army has been preparing for a possible US attack on Iran for weeks before Trump’s departure from the White House. This possibility rings out strongly after revealing ‘The New York Times’ that Trump put the option of the attack on the table to stop Iran’s nuclear progress. The murder of scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in Tehran on Friday adds a new destabilizing factor to the more than likely Iranian retaliation.
Netanyahu’s diplomatic successes are not doing much for him domestically. The longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history faces a trial for corruption, the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, settler discontent over stopping the annexation of the West Bank and weekly protests in which thousands of citizens ask for his resignation. The conservative leader has fulfilled his dream of leaving the Palestinian conflict in the background to strengthen the Arab-Israeli relationship.
During Trump’s four years, Netanyahu has managed to get the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State, the transfer of the Tel Aviv Embassy to the holy city or the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. Now he is preparing for the arrival of Joe Biden with the request that he not return to the nuclear deal with Iran.
The relief at the White House brings those who worked with Barack Obama, a president who had a terrible personal relationship with Netanyahu, to the forefront of US politics.
Nerves in the face of Trump’s departure and the relief
Mohamed Bin Salman has followed Mohamed Bin Zayed’s strategy of rapprochement with Israel as this can serve as a shield after Trump’s departure. The young prince wants to make history by modernizing and opening up the kingdom, but the war in Yemen, the murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, the continuous fight with Qatar or the systematic arrest of human rights activists are not to the liking of the administration. democrat.
In Riyadh, they took good note of the interview that the now chosen by Biden as new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, gave to the CBS network last May. In it, he advanced that, in the event of a victory at the polls, “we will review the relationship with the Government of Saudi Arabia, to which President Trump has basically given a blank check to pursue a set of disastrous policies, including the war in Yemen, but also the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and domestic repression.
This change in harmony between the United States and the countries of the area will also extend to Egypt, where it seems that the policy of Trump’s “favorite dictator”, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, does not enjoy Blinken’s favor. The future strongman of US foreign policy earlier this week criticized the detention of several human rights activists in Cairo.