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A Look  at Israeli Bahraini Relations Normalization and Its Impacts under the Abraham Accords

News of the signing of the peace agreement called the Abraham Accords between two Arab states and Israel brokered by the US had wide repercussions among the regional public opinion.
December 2020
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Hamidreza Kazemi

News of the signing of the peace agreement called the Abraham Accords between two Arab states and Israel brokered by the US had wide repercussions among the regional public opinion. most western analysts contended the accord was ratified to contain and control Iran and its basic aim was forming a regional alliance for controlling the Islamic republic of Iran. However, this development can be part of the west and US plan for the new middle east order. In addition, considering the tense domestic situation inside Israel and Netanyahu’s instable tenure and worsening economic situation, this development can ease pressure off Netanyahu and its administration . Also, in America , Trump tried to utilize the Abraham Accord during his lost presidential campaign, yet, the process of compromise with Israel will probably continue and the Arab states betrayal to the Palestinian people’s rights will not stop even after Biden’s victory in the elections.

When on September 15 of this year the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the UAE appeared in a picture with the leaders of the US and Israel  in the media, the news of a US brokered peace deal called the “Abraham Accord” signed by two Arab states and Israel exploded like a news bomb in the public opinion of the region. The west’s mainstream media analysts believe that this is an agreement for containing what is called Iran’s danger and the basis for this accord was forming a regional alliance for controlling the Islamic republic.

This propaganda resulted in radical reactions from inside Iran to the agreement and the agreement received too much attention. But in fact, the new wave of the relations normalization between Arab states and Israel must not be seen solely through the glasses of Iran , and with a broader look, it can be seen as the new regional architecture and middle east order. Therefore, there are two tracks of economic and political goals for the Abraham Accord.

The Persian gulf Arab states started their economic relations with Israel since the 1990s and trade offices were established in the capitals. But, these trade offices were closed after the third Palestinian uprising in the west bank broke out. The newly established relations between the Sheikhs of the region and Israel failed to reach its initial goals . But now there is talk of an economic alliance between the two sides which is based on economic investment by the Persian gulf Arab states and receiving technology from Israel in exchange.  As a result, as the media report the information technology is one of the main sectors for cooperation between the sides and the flow of labor and investment will be facilitated between the two parties.

Additionally, the Israelis are inclined to reach out to the profitable Persian gulf markets. under the current circumstances that the Covid-19 pandemic has sent the world economy into a recession, entering new markets has become the top economic priority of all countries and the consumer market of the region will  be much attractive to Israeli traders. The Israelis are even thinking to their gas exports to the Persian gulf states through Jordan and or even Iraq though this idea is still too farfetched.

 However, during the recent Abraham Accord talks and especially the Bahraini and Israeli part of the story, the political and security aspect is more standing out compared to the economic aspect. Bahrain is known to observers for its reliance on foreign economic and military help for its stability who follows the Saudi footsteps. For this country whose identity has been defined on the contrived Iranian threat, balancing power with its so-called number one enemy ,the Islamic republic of Iran, is a must.

However, this fact should not be ignored that the Abraham Accord, apart from its economic political-security dimensions, can be examined under the rubric of the Israeli American relations. Many Trump critics believe he could not reach a foreign policy feat and his plans including reaching a nuclear agreement with north Korea, multilateral control of China, a new nuclear agreement with Iran and Deal of the Century fell short of the intended goals. In this regard, the UAE  and Bahrain agreement with Israel would be some sort of a doping for his prudential campaign. It can be claimed that the flamboyant September 15 ,2020, ceremony was a pat imitation of the Oslo Peace Accord signing ceremony between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin brokered by Bill Clinton in 1993, to have Trump sold as a successful patron of peace and potentially a noble peace prize candidate which is a pressing dream for Trump to win.

Domestically, though Netanyahu managed to keep his prime ministerial office after many ups and downs, but his office is still shaky. Also the Israeli economic situation is not okay, and despite generous US aid and EU’s huge investment in the country, the economic hardships of the country has made the Likude-Blue and White coalition government faced with difficulties and the street protests against Netanyahu’s economic policies and corruption files are persisting. Therefore, to find a way out of the domestic pressure , he has decided to stress foreign issues because by virtue of his skills in political and diplomatic sectors he can pose himself as a successful international leader and a new brand in Israeli politics outside the occupied territories.

At the end it has to be noted that , although Trump lost the US election, the normalization of relations between the Arab states and Israel will continue and probably when Biden takes office there will be changes  in the US foreign policy regarding various dossiers including the middle east peace process. The issue of normalizing relations like the annexation of the Jordan valley or the Jewish settlements has no opposing voice within the democratic party and the efforts for including other Arab states to normalization with Israel will continue although from the new White house dwellers’ view the efforts made by Mohammed bin Salman  and Mohammed bin Zayed  to politically dope Trump would remain a negative stain on the relations of the young Arab princess and the democratic party members.

 Hamidreza Kazemi: Expert at Iranian Embassy in Amman

 (The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)

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