Israel is conquering the Gulf at a dizzying pace. The latest normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain mark a historic moment for the Jewish state in its relations with the Arab world. So far only Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) maintained diplomatic ties with Israel but thanks to the mediation of US President Donald Trump, the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has scored a double achievement in foreign policy in less than a month. The threat common representing Iran in the region has motivated these pacts, somehow supervised behind the scenes by Saudi Arabia. The applause coming from Oman indicate that it could be the next Gulf monarchy to approach Israel.
Before a common enemy, players move around the board and create new alliances. The Abraham Accords, named after the White House, are a new strategy in the fascinating fabric of the Middle East. For this reason, the Israeli, Emirati and Bahraini leaders use the word paz as a euphemism for interests. The gradual withdrawal of US presence in the region it has forced the great military powers of Israel and the economic powers of the Gulf monarchies to seek mutual protection. The shadow of Iran, powerful in Syria and Yemen, is very long and its main rival, Saudi Arabia, sends its Bahraini and Emirati allies to test new coalitions.
“The pact will help strengthen the security and the stability from the region, “Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdulatif bin Rashid al Zayani said in announcing the deal. Bahrain, an archipelago with a Shiite majority, is ruled by a Sunni monarchy, like the rest of its neighbors. In turn, his enmity towards Iran and his good relations with U.S, which has its fifth naval fleet installed on its islands, have been the common points that have led to rapprochement with Israel.
Criticisms in Bahrain
But the agreement has not caused the happiness of the population, as it did in the Emirates where its people celebrated being able to have the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holy place of Islam, to extend their prayers. From social networks, the Bahrainis have initiated a campaign against normalization of relations with Israel. “The agreement between the regime despotic of Bahrain and the occupation government Zionist It is a total betrayal of Islam and Arabism and a deviation from the Islamic, Arab and national consensus, “tweeted the Shiite group Al-Wefaq, leader of the opposition until its dissolution by the authorities after the Arab Spring of 2011.
Political societies and Bahraini community institutions reject normalization with the Zionist enemy and affirm the steadfast position of the people of Bahrain on the Palestinian issue#the two seas #Naturalization_ betrayalBahrainis Against Normalization
— Alwefaq Society (@ALWEFAQ) September 13, 2020
Since Oman friendly propositions are also sensed. “The strategic direction chosen by some Arab countries reflects the aspirations and demands of all states and peoples who love a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East and in the whole world “, declared the sultanate after the announcement of the pact. They were precisely the ambassadors of Oman, UAE and Bahrain who attended last January the launch of the so-called “peace plan” signed between Trump and Netanyahu. Thus, this absolute monarchy is expected to be the next to approach Israel. Other possible approaches also sound with Sudan, Morocco or even Saudi Arabia itself.
Sin Kuwait is Qatar
Thus, Saudi Arabia it is getting stronger in the fight with Iran. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman leads the front against the Ayatollah regime, with American support. With Shiite protections from Syria until the Lebanon, and Turkish support, Iran is presented as the threat to be fought by Israel and by the Arab monarchies.
Palestinians they continue to lose out to an Arab world alien to their cause
In this alliance, but, kingdoms like that of Kuwait – “we will be the last to normalize relationships” – and Qatar. The Qatari peninsula suffers the boycott of the Arab quartet led by Saudi Arabia and made up of Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE, now all allies of Israel. His alleged support for terrorism in Yemen and his closeness to Turkey and Iran caused a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf in 2017. Since then, these countries have not maintained relations.
Benefits for all
Although now these leaders celebrate with euphoria the flights that connect them and the signing of treaties, their relationships are not new. For decades, economic and commercial exchanges have existed between Israel and the Gulf monarchies. Only at the present time the US withdrawal in the region it has forced them to become official, to normalize. And all the actors win.
Trump an achievement is pointed out in the middle of the electoral campaign with a nod to the electorate of the pro-Israel Christian right. Netanyahu, on the other hand, is at a critical moment in the face of the reconfinement of the country, protests over corruption and the mismanagement of the pandemic. These links come to the Gulf sheikhs with economic and military benefits for their kingdoms. The palestiniansFor now, they are the ones who continue to lose out to an Arab world completely oblivious to their cause.