As much as I want to believe that this is the beginning of the end of the Arab world’s vituperative mania and hatred of Israel, The Abraham Accords are more of a shift of geopolitical connections and enemies, rather than a meaningful decrease in the global threats against Israel.
That does not diminish the significance of President Trump’s astounding achievement. Hatred of Israel and demonization of Jews has been one of the cornerstones of Arab and Muslim foreign and domestic policies for generations, and the cold peace with Jordan and Egypt had more to do with immediate security needs and the realization that Israel’s military and economic might was permanent.
But countries that do not border Israel and have little to do with the intractable problem of the Palestinian Arabs were safe in their Israel HateTM. They could trot out “Our poor downtrodden Palestinian cousins” whenever a bit of distraction from their political or economic failures was needed. Bahrain and The United Arab Emirates had very little concern that they would wake up one morning to see Israeli tanks in their streets, so their motivation to sign a treaty normalizing relations is based on other things.
And the question is: What are those things? Certainly Saudi Arabia’s desire to have Israel part of its own strategy to confront, or at least blunt the Iranian threat is high on the list. KSA is pulling some of these strings, and Bahrain and UAE would not have done this without the approval of the Saudis. And oil prices certainly play a role; these countries can no longer rely on oceans of hard currency to prop up their welfare states. The entrepreneurial spirit of American frackers plus the full-throated support of President Trump for a rational domestic energy policy made sure of that.
But the most important part of the agreements is who wasn’t at the signing, but will be at the next one. This is a stabilizing trend in the Middle East, and while the mandarins in the beltway may scoff at its supposed lack of importance, the possibility of half of the Arab world moving from a state of war with Israel to a state of peace is an amazing and unexpected byproduct of the president’s ability to make deals.
He didn’t solve the “Palestinian” problem, but he set the world on a course that may make the Palestinians simply irrelevant if they don’t make peace with Israel…and they will never do that!
[Crossposted at AoSHQ]