Analysis: UAE Eyes Anti-Iran, Turkey Strains from Jewish Delegation

Analysis: UAE Eyes Anti-Iran, Turkey Strains from Jewish Delegation

On February 18, the United Arab Emirates hosted a 70-person American Jewish delegation to whom the Emirati leaders expressed concerns about what they called negative Iranian and Turkish behavior in the region.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - In the past few years, the Israeli regime’s relations with some Arab states have come to surface, leaving behind a period of being shrouded in secrecy.

On February 18, the United Arab Emirates hosted a 70-person American Jewish delegation to whom the Emirati leaders expressed concerns about what they called negative Iranian and Turkish behavior in the region.

The Emirati officials complained about Tehran and Ankara and accused them of embarking on “expansionist policies” in the region during the meeting, the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post has reported.

Israeli-Arab diplomatic normalization

The efforts to normalize ties between the Arab states and the Israeli regime so far have passed a set of stages. In the first stage, some Arab states signed peace and recognition deals with Tel Aviv. Egypt signed an agreement with the Israelis in 1979, and Jordan followed its suit in 1992. In the second stage the Israelis put to work energetic efforts to persuade the Arab world’s elite circles about a need for their countries to enter into similar deals with Tel Aviv. And the third stage, which is currently underway, is working on desensitization of the Arab public about the possible normalization with Tel Aviv. A set of measures have been taken towards this aim: Joint cultural and scientific conferences are held, the Israeli sports teams are welcomed in the Arab nations, and most importantly the Israeli regime is replaced with Iran as the key source of threat and hostility to the Arab states.

By giving their ties with the Israelis publicity, the Arab rulers are intensively working on breaking the taboo of establishing relations with Tel Aviv, in place among the Arab nations since the Israelis occupied the Palestinian territories in 1948 and announced a state in Palestine which led to the displacement of millions of Palestinians and ensuing Arab-Israeli wars. These steps, they hope, will pave the way for unquestioned official relations with Tel Aviv.

Reasons behind rush for normalization

Recently, a Yemeni news outlet has described the UAE as the war machine of the Israeli regime in the region, asserting that all that Abu Dhabi does comes to serve the Israeli regional interests. Some regional developments bear witness to this issue. Abu Dhabi-Tel Aviv’s relations started a decade ago on the sly. But in the past few years, the Emirati officials held open meetings with the Israelis, signaling that the normalization efforts have come to fruition and the two sides are ready for it. In late November 2015, Dore Gold, the director-general of the Israeli foreign ministry visited the UAE to take part in the International Conference on Renewable Energy and said Tel Aviv had the intention to open a representation office in Abu Dhabi.

In April 2017, the UAE joined the Israeli regime, the US, and Greece in air force military exercises, with its slogan being “Act with Awareness”, though it has no official relations with Tel Aviv.

And in early December last year, the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s advocacy to the US President’s Donald Trump’s announcement of recognition of al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of the Israeli state and relocation of the American embassy to the so-called new capital was conspicuous. The powerful Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Dubai and the deputy commander of the UAE armed forces who in practice rules the country, tries to design his country’s ties with various countries based on security, and not ideological, concerns and considerations. As a result, he in the past few years has put a premium on a form of secular foreign policy of the Arab nation.

The trip to the UAE of American Jewish delegation is regarded as part of attempts to accelerate the normalization process. The region is presently experiencing a transition period, and the Arab nations are heavily preoccupied with the crises sweeping through the region. The Arab rulers are seizing a chance in a period of regional order transformation to conclude the normalization efforts. The rampageous regional conditions in the past few years provided a key drive for the normalization efforts to speed up. In addition to the disorder in the region acting as a drive, the thaw efforts are fuelled also by unorthodoxy of newcomers to the surface of the Saudi and UAE rule such as Mohammed bin Zayed and also Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Iranophobia

One of the main policies the US and the Israeli regime have often put to work against Iran in the region is the highly threadbare Iranophobia. For long years, Washington and Tel Aviv have been seizing various chances to accentuate Iranophibia. For example, in the past few months, the Americans have been busy seeking to link the Yemeni Ansarullah movement’s missile launches into Saudi Arabia to Tehran in hope of drawing international blaming of the Islamic Republic. The latest effort came in the form of a UK-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution, strongly backed by the US and France, condemning the so-called Iranian support for the Yemeni revolutionaries. It was vetoed by Russia, however.

Iranophibia has its own benefits to the West, including the huge arms deals with the Arab regimes and also heavy military presence to control the global energy hub. After a period of toleration, now the UAE is stepping into relative tensions with Iran.

Alliance against Turkey

The UAE-Turkey ties have been contentious recently, with the two sides’ leaders unleashing heavy verbal attacks on each other. The Persian Gulf Arab states are obsessed with the notion that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey diligently works toward the reestablishment of the Ottoman Empire which before its demise in early 20th century ruled the Arab Peninsula as part of its vast territories for centuries. Another problematic issue between Ankara and Abu Dhabi is the Turkish backing for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), an Islamist movement spreading across the Arab world. The UAE leaders find the biggest home threat to their throne posed by the Brotherhood. They have been confronting the Islamic movements, especially those active in the Persian Gulf region for the past two decades. From 2011 on, not only the MB but also other Islamic groups declined to be active in the UAE. Since the same year, bin Zayed not only energized the Egyptian and Jordanian governments’ crackdown on the Brotherhood but also militarily struck them in Libya. This keen resolve to check the movement gives the Emirati rulers every reason to blast Turkey’s approaches and accuse it of expansionism. But the main cause of deterioration of their tensions was the Turkish support to Qatar after an all-out blockade was imposed on Doha by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. A US-Saudi-UAE front has been in the making recently against Turkey.

On the other side, Iran and Turkey are in partnership in more than one important regional case. In Syria, for instance, despite some conflicting views, Tehran and Ankara joined the efforts in combatting the terrorist groups. The cooperation has proved highly costly to the Western-Israeli-Arab camp. After all, Turkey was once a staunch ally of the West and Arab regimes in Syria. But a failure to oust the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and hold territories by the foreign-backed armed groups have pushed the Turks to a review of Syria policy, a political epiphany that led Ankara to head to Moscow and Tehran.

The Palestinian cause is another sphere of Iran-Turkey consensus. Despite the fact that the Turkish president has made an instrument for self-advantage from the Palestinian issue, his relative support for the Palestinians promoted Iran and Turkey as the key supporters of Palestine in the Muslim world. This is while the UAE and Saudi Arabia are the two Arab parties that served the Israeli interests in the so-called century’s deal of compromise that allowed Trump to declare al-Quds the Israeli capital. This makes the Emiratis’ being in league with the Israelis against Iran and Turkey look natural and in the present conditions is expected to unfold into further escalation.

The Jewish delegation is influential in the US foreign policy. The US foreign policy is, in fact, influenced by various pressure groups and communities, a point the UAE is well aware of. By anti-Turkish and Iranian charges, Abu Dhabi hopes to facilitate further US measures against the two countries using the Jewish circles’ weight in the American policy.





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