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Axis of Abraham

Author: Michael Singh

Affiliation: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council (2005-2008), Special Assistant to U.S. Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, Served at U.S. Embassy in Israel (Tel Aviv)

Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place: March/April 2022/USA

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 3423

Link: https://fam.ag/35oy7NJ

 

Keywords: Palestine, Abraham Accords, USA, Normalization, Bahrain, UAE, KSA, and Morocco

Brief:

The author examines how the Abraham Accords (AA) alters the Middle East with the US’s continued interference in the region.  To the US, the AA creates a bloc of Middle East countries that can safeguard Washington’s interests in the region, as the US administration continues its pivot-to-Asia policy. Still, Washington needs “to do more, before it can do less” in the region. Regionally, the AA allows for greater economic integration, which the author claims has not been common in the ME. This is bolstered by greater security cooperation, i.e. arms sales. Compared to the 1978 and 1994 Israel peace deals, which were more or less a cold peace, the AA are a conscious step towards cooperation. The AA were the result of certain geopolitical realties. For one, the Arab Spring drove the Gulf monarchies to take the lead after Cairo and Damascus witnessed strong popular uprisings for democracy. Also, common enemies (Iran) have brought countries like Israel and the UAE together. Further, the US’s focus on China has pushed many of its ME allies to find alternatives to secure their interests. Some ME actors see China as an opportunity, not as a threat. As the UAE has been pushing itself as a reliable regional partner, it has found in Israel a good economic and military partner. From escaping Yemen, to seeking de-escalation with Iran, Qatar, and Turkey, normalizing relationships with Israel is a convenient development for Abu Dhabi. However, the AA states have yet to agree on a number of diplomatic matters. Second, as long as other Arab states do not recognize Israel, political coordination remains ad hoc, which ultimately prevents establishing a meaningful multilateral mechanism to handle any regional disputes. Finally, the author paints a picture of a new, in-the-making ME. He proposes that the ME today has three main blocs: the axis of resistance, the Islamist bloc (Turkey, Qatar), and the US-aligned bloc. The AA is an attempt to officially consolidate one of these blocs.  The author wonders if the AA will eventually attract other US-aligned states, most notably the KSA. While the accords align more with MBS’s vision and the fact that Riyadh and Tel Aviv have grown friendly, the KSA will have to reconcile with a potential decry from its larger population less accepting of the apartheid state.


By: Hamza Emir, CIGA Research Assistant

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