Why is the Israel-UAE deal stressing Turkey and Iran?

Now, the majority of Arab countries believe that the Palestinian cause has turned into a tool for Turkey and Iran to penetrate into the region. For many of them, Palestine is a burden anyway. More than a couple of them are ready to let go of the cause if there is no pressure from the street.

The Abraham Accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates regarding the normalization of relations was announced on Aug 13. In the joint statement by the leaders of the U.S., Israel and UAE, it said: “This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region.” U.S. President Donald Trump calls this a “peace deal.”   

This is a couple of robbers sharing a lie. 

What made the Palestinian cause a cause was not the Emirates nor the other lords of the petro-dollar order. If it weren’t for the self determination of the Palestinians, there would not have been any struggle.    

The Emirates are making a peace deal for a war they have not conducted. They are selling a cause they have never adopted. Indeed, Trump, who has not recorded even one achievement in his foreign policy record, will call this a “historic breakthrough.” But it is not.

A need had arisen for such a move. Trump’s chances of being reelected in November are getting slimmer. Trump has to gain the Jewish lobby all together and regain the votes he lost in due to COVID-19 in Florida, which has a large Jewish population.

Trump’s “Deal of the Century” did not work. He did not dare give the green light to Israel's Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to annex the West Bank. Now, he is trying to make up for it through this deal.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, angered his electorate when he postponed the annexation he had planned for July 1. Now, he is strengthening his hand though his success story of how he broke the Arab siege.

The UAE is reinforcing its position within international equilibriums in which the U.S. and Israel are influential.

The joint statement said: “Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace… This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region.”

The UAE has put the promise of “no annexation” in the front window.   

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the day-to-day ruler of the UAE, said they had agreed “to halt the Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands.” 

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the annexation issue was like a “ticking time-bomb.” It was threatening a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The deal was "a very bold step" to stop the ticking time bomb of Israel's annexation of the West Bank. He said the UAE saw this as “a stoppage of the annexation, not a suspension.”

However, Netanyahu said he remained “committed to annexing parts of the West Bank,” but agreed to “temporarily suspend” those plans. Thus, a sales strategy wrapped in lies collapsed within hours.

It would be extremely optimistic to hope that this deal will contribute to a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli issue; however, it will facilitate the disintegration of the Arab line. The first goal of the strategy is to remove the Palestine cause from the Arab circle. To achieve this, Israel has had a diplomatic mission in the Gulf since 2012. If they can do this, then they can more easily manipulate the interest of non-Arab countries like Turkey and Iran when it comes to Palestine.

Israel-U.S. politics have prepared the ground for the disintegration of the Arab stance. The Gulf states have been told that their real enemy was Iran. This was followed by harsh strategies developed against Tehran’s regional influence. The U.S. imposition to completely end Iran’s oil exports, tensions in Hormuz in connection with this, the UAE tankers, and “mysterious” attacks targeting Saudi oil facilities all developed the atmosphere in favor of Israel. In other words, the fear of Iran worked.

However, one should not overvalue the fact that the UAE is also in the equation. In this business they call historic, the UAE’s secret relationship with Israel just became public. The two countries have been flirting in the military and intelligence fields since 1990. When bin Zayed became the crown prince in 2004, contact accelerated. In 2010, when the Mossad killed a Palestinian arms dealer in Dubai, they were alienated from one another, but it didn’t last long. Undeclared commercial relations advanced. Israel equipped the UAE with spy technology and software. In 2010, Israel Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau visited Abu Dhabi. In 2012, Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed met in New York. There were also secret talks held in Cyprus.

Netanyahu appointed Yitzhak Molcho as special representative for Gulf relations in 2014. Talks ascended in order to establish a counter front during the process when Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015. Israel opened an office in Abu Dhabi in 2015. The dialogue with the Israelis opened the way for the U.S. to sell F-16 aircraft to the UAE. Last May and June, UAE planes landed in Ben Gurion Airport under the guise of “aid to Palestine.” In June, Group 42 from the UAE signed arms deals with Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael.

In other words, a relationship that goes back dozens of years is now becoming apparent in front of the cameras.

What would make “history”? Egypt signed a peace accord with Israel in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. If Syria, Lebanon and Palestine do the same, then it would be historic.

The rest falls into the category of a move to remove Palestine from being an Arab issue. In this framework, the big fish would be Saudi Arabia. Of course, the Emirates did not take this step without the consent of Saudi Arabia. Moreover, Riyad may be testing the waters through UAE and developing its decision. Saudi Arabia had proposed a plan in 2002 in which, in exchange for forming a Palestine state with 1967 borders, members of the Arab Union would recognize Israel. Now, they are at the stage of betraying their own proposal. The only fear they have is the negative reactions of the public and alternative power groups such as the Ikhwan, who would surf on these reactions. When King Salman’s son Muhammed bin Salman ascends to the throne, he may not lose any time in going to Tel Aviv. The Saudis need small actors so that the road is made wider.

In the joint statement, the belief is emphasized that “additional diplomatic breakthroughs with other nations are possible, and [we] will work together to achieve this goal. “ 

In this fortune telling, who is next? The first names that come to mind are Bahrain, Oman, Morocco and Mauritania. According to Israel, the list is even longer.

Bahrain is happy with the decision. The King hosted the son-in-law Jared Kushner’s “Peace to Prosperity” workshop last year.

Oman also has also drifted off course and smiled at the accord. Oman had allowed Israel to open a commercial office in 1960 but closed it in 2000.  

Morocco, which has touristic and commercial ties with Israel, may take this step with the hope of obtaining U.S. support in its bid for sovereignty rights in Western Sahara.

After Omar al-Bashir, even Sudan left the category of “Israel’s enemies.” It may consider normalization with Israel for better relations with the U.S. Nothing is certain, but Israelis are quite optimistic. 

Inquisitive eyes are also scanning Qatar, the “true friend” of Turkey. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who conducts covert relationships with Israel and at the same time supports Hamas, cannot easily leave this dual game.  

Qatar had also closed Israel’s commercial office in 2000, but it continued its secret relations with Israel. The U.S. needs Qatar to talk to Hamas, as in the peace deal with the Taliban. Also, who pay compensation for Gaza, which Israel has destroyed? 

The head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, was in Doha recently. Cohen was again in Doha last February along with Major General Herzi Halevi. The relationship is quite characteristic: Israel destroys, Qatar builds. Qatar pays the compensation that should be coming out of Israel’s pocket. Israelis go to Doha for the aid program to continue, the one that started in 2018 and will end in September. Gaza should remain as an open prison but at the same time it should not die, thanks to Qatar aid. Salaries should be paid and power plants should be fueled. Considerate Israel and generous Qatar!

Turkey and Iran have very different reactions. Turkey was one of the first countries that recognized Israel. Turkey has signed several crucial military agreements with Israel, even in the Mavi Marmara incident, the Gaza flotilla raid, Turkey did not cut its diplomatic ties with Israel. It only downgraded its level. During that time, Turkey multiplied its commercial relations with Israel by five. Now, Turkey is slamming the UAE, saying “Why do you have relations with Israel?” and is discussing withdrawing its ambassador.

Iran, on the other hand, considers the accord a threat. Iranian Chief of General Staff Mohammad Bagheri warned, “Tehran’s approach to the UAE will change ... If something happens in the Persian Gulf region and if our national security is damaged, however small, we will hold the UAE responsible for that and we will not tolerate it.”

Israel may increase its military-intelligence capacity in the UAE. This is the main concern. Currently, with its 5,000 troops and navy ships in the UAE, the U.S. is already keeping Iran vigilant. But on the other hand, Iran has very complicated relations with the Dubai emirate. While Iran was under an embargo and blockade, it conducted its commercial and financial operations from Dubai. It will not give up from these channels. Iranian, also, is concerned that this deal may help Trump in the elections.

Meanwhile, this step may contain beneficial aspects. Iran would keep the “resistant axis” firm by saying they are the only friends of Palestine. Turkey would do anything to demonize the UAE which is confronting it in Libya, Syria and Iraq. The claim to be the protector of Palestine cause is at the top of the strategic menu of the New Ottoman. Those who may claim that Iran and Turkey are abusing the Palestine cause, the answer comes quickly now: “Even Arabs are recognizing Israel.”

Now, the majority of Arab countries believe that the Palestinian cause has turned into a tool for Turkey and Iran to penetrate into the region. For many of them, Palestine is a burden anyway. More than a couple of them are ready to let go of the cause if there is no pressure from the street. 

Of course, this accord and the reactions given to it have a new separator effect in international circles, starting with the U.S. politics. The picture that is being formed is in favor of the Emirates, which is conducting a covert fight with Turkey. The accord may have connotations exceeding the Palestine-Israeli context. It contains a perspective that is able to block Iran and Turkey.