Abraham Accord: Dawn of the New Middle East

Authored By:

Mahak Gupta

Research Intern, Internationalism


What is Abraham Accord?


The United Arab Emirates and Israel in August 2020 agreed to sign an agreement called the Israel-UAE Peace Agreement or the Abraham Accord. With this move, the UAE became the third Arab nation after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) to sign a peace agreement with Israel and also the first country of the Persian Gulf. In order to honour the patriarch of Judaism, Christianity and Islam who are the three major Abrahamic religions of the world, the name Abraham was chosen. By annexing the Palestinian territories and to return to negotiating terms by convincing the Israelis and the Palestinians, this agreement sees the future of normalizing the situation and their diplomatic relation between the two nations as put forward by Anwar Gargash, the State of Foreign Affairs minister of the UAE. Cooperation on broad areas will be achieved by this agreement including education, tourism, trade and security and healthcare.

They will also exchange ambassadors and embassies as per Benjamin Netanyahu who is the Prime Minister of Israel and US President Donald Trump. This would enforce peace in the region of the Middle East which would open new paths of greater potential in the region as per the vision of Netanyahu, Zayed and Donald Trump. The world today is mired with disarray and disruption. A historic moment of realignment and cooperation would thus be signified by the Abraham Accords. Events of a new paradigm have been framed by the Trump administration with the signing of the treaty in the White House.


A change in the Middle-East


By setting a new trend, a convenient path is being created for the Middle-East as put forward by Zayed, the foreign minister of UAE. For the state of Israel, the USA and the UAE, this is a historic achievement as its outcomes would be seen on the whole region as every alternative other than peace and cooperation would lead to more poverty, destruction and sufferings of human beings. They also said that this is not a move for political gain but for love and youthful energy for the future which would be prosperous and secure. The White House, after signing the deal, released a statement which said that increased access would be given the Muslims in the Al Aqsa Mosque for countering the false narrative by the extremists who say that the Mosque is under a threat of attack and Muslims hence cannot offer prayers here.


The way forward


The skills of strategy and politics have been very well demonstrated by the Prime Minister of Israel which has in fact made him the leader who has been serving longest in Israel. In decades, Israel’s relations internationally have seen a progress because of the leadership of Netanyahu where he has effectively used the Annexation of the West Bank as a threat. With the agreement, he has paved a way for providing incentives to the cooperation of the Arab, tried resolving the issue of the Israelis and their friends and the relentless rejection of the Palestinian strategy has been isolated. This historic error has to be moved past of the Palestinian leaders where solutions have to be sought for embracing the two-states. This would bring into existence a new world of advancement and coexistence of Arabs and Israelis.


The founding member of the think tank of the in the U.K. for counter-extremism, Maajid Nawaz has the view that other Muslim nations should learn from this partnership. An article was published by him in 2017 and a brief analysis was provided by him on Facebook which reads thus:

· This deal would have a domino effect and would strengthen Israel’s legitimacy. Hence a follow suit should be observed by other countries.

· The terrorist backing powers of Iran along with her militia of Shia-Islamist terrorism in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen would be isolated and weakened by this deal. After the Beirut blast and the killing of QassemSoleimani, times have really been bad for Iran.

· This deal by approving Arab and Israel cooperation would further help in isolating Assad who has enforced such tyranny against Syrian people and defend them.

· The most wonderful news for democracy and peace is that this would lead to a safer environment where Saudi Arabia maybe next after UAE’s leadership. Overall there is a gain for Palestinians.


The Winners


Although the agreement has been signed keeping in mind the peaceful cooperation there are some parties those who would have benefited from the treaty other than just peace. These have been discussed below:


1) The leaders of the four Countries

The authoritarian leaders of the four countries i.e. the de facto ruler of the Emirates and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed; the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman; the everlasting Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr Donald Trump, the US President. They all needed the urgent signing of this agreement.

- The unpopularity of the Democrats in the UAE after being in the bad books of Barack Obama made Bin Zayed realise that he requires support from the US in case Joe Biden succeeds.

- for a similar reason Bin Salman made this bold move. He had to bring to the news that he is merely not a murderer of dissidents and a moderate and constructive leader in the knowledge of the Democrats and also the Europeans.

- As Israel is in a very bad position due to the mishandling of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Netanyahu had to divert the attention of the people from the same. Also in an attempt to elevate his reputation as a statesman on the platform of the world among the Israeli voters he made this agreement.

- President Donald Trump obviously will have reasons to politicise on being the moderator and bringing peace to the Middle East.

2) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Makers

If we look closely, Abraham Accords seem like arms deals. American weaponry of better class will now be accessible to UAE and other nations who have ties with Israel as USA had promised for providing a qualitative military edge to Israel for a long time.


India and Abraham Accord: Implications


Following are given some of the implications that Abraham Accord will have on India though not directly but indirectly.

3) As both Israel and UAE have long been strategic partners of India hence the stance of India has been positive towards established of their diplomatic and peaceful relations.

4) The Gulf countries and Israel have with India growing and multifaceted socio-economic policies which are becoming stronger. Hence the change in their dynamics regionally will definitely have a positive impact on the foreign policy of India and also on the strategic interests.

5) The resolution of the Palestine dispute can now be made in a peaceful manner as the Accord widens the moderate constituency. This would help in easing the balancing act of India.

6) There would arise a need for India to have an eye on the proxy war which may occur between Israel and Iran as a possibility of the treaty. The southern gulf more specifically the Shia pockets impose this danger.

7) There may arise a case of new polarisations between the mainstream and the Jihadi fringe movement as a result of the ties.

8) The rewarding and large regional footprint acquired by India in the field of gems and jewellery, food products, source of manpower, pharmaceuticals etc. may be impacted by challenges from Israel with has a heavy hand in the field of security, defence, solar energy etc.

9) The rift between the Shias and the Sunnis has been going on for decades and this cold war has caused instability since a long time. India and Iran’s relations can hence be tested as this rift can become more violent and wide.


The silence of the Vatican City


The Pope, the media, or the senior diplomats till now have not commented on the Abraham Accord. Nobody in the Vatican has taken a stance of this step for peace said by the chair on the U.S. Bishops’ Committee. This comes to be surprising as the issue of the Middle East has for a very long time been a concern for them for basically these reasons: Geopolitically, the war between these two countries is the mother of all conflicts; religiously, the cradle of Christianity is this holy land; and pastorally when any conflict erupts in the region, the minority of the Christians in the Middle East become vulnerable. Before, when the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993 and Camp David Accords in 1978, the Vatican had been publicly supportive and applauded the outcomes. Moreover, in 2019 the Pope had visited UAE as a part of his strategy and signed the “Document on Human Fraternity” to outreach the Islamic world hence Pope should be more interested in anything involving the UAE as the document is expected to provide some basics in the future moves on human fraternity. The reason for this silence may be two-fold.


Anything that the Vatican will say by their criticising or appraising will become a political move for the US as this is the election time in the US and they resist being dragged into these political debates as we have seen the example that the Pope refused to visit Argentina as he's coming into his native country would be beneficial for one faction or a political group or another. Hence the Vatican might have chosen not to go out of their way for those countries about whom it has reservations.

Secondly, the city obviously wants a peaceful situation for the Middle East and this is not a solution for it. For a long time, they wanted a peaceful solution for the sovereignty of the two nations but according to many researchers these Accords side-line the Palestinians. They do this by making separate agreements with the Arab states in which the Palestinians are not even a party. Hence the Vatican cannot endorse anything that would make justice for the Palestinians any far off goal even if they cannot object to the long-time troubles states for coming together by invoking the term Abraham which is a Biblical archetype. Hence it is quite beneficial for them to keep silent on the matter.


Conclusion


Keeping in view the above discussion we can say that this agreement will have profound consequences. The ties will now become bolder, deeper and visible between Israel and allies of the Arab by this new architecture of security. This collaboration would result in an improved spectrum of infrastructure and technologies. The concept of pluralism, peace and progress would foster among the young populations. Hence to conclude, it is for the benefit of the interest of all to make these Accords successful by making a permanent departure from the mistakes of the past and celebrating the new times they promise.

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