By Mohammad Mazhari

UAE-Israel agreement will threaten the national security of the region: Qatari analyst

August 23, 2020 - 12:26

TEHRAN - Saleh Gharib, a Qatari analyst, is of the opinion that the new peace agreement between the UAE and Israel, which is known as the Abraham Accord, will threaten Arab countries and Iran's interests by bringing Israel to the region.

“The normalization agreement between the Emirates and Israel will destabilize the region and threaten Iran's national security,” Gharib tells the Tehran Times. 

Under the agreement, which was brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump and announced on August 13, Israel has promised to suspend the annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank. 

However, just hours after the announcement Benjamin Netanyahu said he remained committed to the annexation plan.

The announcement of the agreement has sparked a bitter row in Arab social media.

"This is not in the interest of the region and its stability to bring Israel to the region and threaten the national security of Arab countries and Iran," says Gharib.

While the world, and the Arabs in particular, was astonished by the accord, some questions were raised regarding the agreement and its content, including details of normalization of relations, recognition, and cooperation between the UAE and Israel in a variety of areas.

Gharib says the Emirates’ move to normalize ties with Israel was not a surprise to him as he has been visiting and monitoring countries of the region, including the Emirates.

"Israel has been present in the Emirates for a long time; for example, its presence in the GITEX Dubai and Dubai Airshow and also in Abu Dhabi exhibitions, but under the names of British companies," Gharib reveals.

Regarding Emirates-Israel's close cooperation, he points to the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a hotel room in Dubai on January 19, 2010.

The assassination of al-Mabhouh, a co-founder of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, is a vivid example of coordination between The Emirates and Israel, according to the Qatari journalist. 

"We were asking how this happened, as Dubai has a control camera on every road that monitors every move. However, the assassination team entered and killed al-Mabhouh and left the Emirates without being stopped by the security authorities at Dubai Airport," Gharib states.

The Qatari writer criticizes former Dubai Police Chief Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan who had said, "We spotted the assassination team. There is a video that shows them at the passport checkpoint at Dubai Airport."

The analyst asks: "If they had had this information, why didn't they arrest the assassination team when they knew that the Palestinian leader would be murdered?"

Gharib says this means that there is a coordination between Israeli and Emirati security authorities, even if it is done secretly. 

He adds, "Meetings were held between the two sides in secret, including when Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed met Netanyahu in Washington and had to enter the hotel stealthily so that no one would see him, as well as his visit to the Zionist regime." 

However, now Abu Dhabi has publically announced the normalization of ties with Israel which many Arabs consider a major betrayal to the Palestinian cause. It also will undermine the decisions of the Arab League.

Responding to a question about the advantages of the Abraham Accord for the Trump administration, Gharib says, "It is support for Trump because they know that he will not win the next election, as well as Netanyahu, given what Israel suffers from internally."

He predicts some other Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, will normalize ties with Israel. He also says Bahrain and Sudan are on the way to follow the example of the UAE.

Asked about if the normalization agreement would give Israel legitimacy or may guarantee the survival of some rulers in Arab sheikhdoms, Gharib says, “The Emirates’  normalization of ties with the Israeli regime and the countries that are going to establish a relationship with Israel, especially Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, is considered an attempt by their princes to strengthen their status.”

The analyst says in these three countries (the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia) the crown princes plan to ascend the position of king. For example, he says, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is now the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, and in light of the health condition of Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, he is the one who runs the state.

He says Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS) is also pursuing such a policy.

"Prince Muhammad bin Salman wants to suppress his rivals and take power after his father King Salman, but the international community cannot accept him due to his human rights record. Murdering Jamal Khashoggi, trying to assassinate al-Jabri and imprisoning political activists, have forced him to make more concession to the American president before he leaves the White House, and this normalization is an attempt to legitimize them to stay in power."

On whether countries like Saudi Arabia and Emirates prioritize normalizing relations with their neighbors rather than Israel, Gharib says the UAE's pursuit of normal ties with Israel is surprising.

"The Emirates is hostile to a neighboring country, Qatar, but allows Israeli citizens to visit the country and exchange flights with Israel." 

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt broke off ties with Qatar three years ago, accusing it of "supporting terrorism."  They closed off their land, airspace, and territorial waters to Qatar.

 Saudi Arabia also prohibits Qatari citizens from Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages or visiting their families in Saudi Arabia. Bahrain has also put in place visa requirement for the Qatari citizens.

"They are also hostile to the Islamic Republic of Iran while establishing a close relationship with the real enemy, which is the Zionist regime," Gharib laments. "Iran, Turkey, and Qatar are Muslim countries, while the Emirates rushing to cooperate with the real enemy, Israel, rather than with Iran or Turkey."

Gharib says this is not in the interests of the region and stability to bring Israel to the region, threatening the national security of the neighboring countries and provoking Iran.

Regarding possibilities of a change in the policies of Persian Gulf countries that insist on aligning themselves against Iran and Turkey, the political analyst believes that after the UAE's agreement with Israel, the policies of those countries will greatly change against Iran and Turkey. "Consequently, Israel will cooperate with them or act to help them carry out their policies in the region." 

Regarding the timing of the Abraham Accord, Gharib points to the upcoming American elections and President Trump's efforts to be re-elected, saying this hastened the signing of the agreement between Israel and the UAE.

"Otherwise, we did not find any reason to sign such a disastrous agreement, as Israel is far from the Emirates, and there were no problems between them," he opines.

"The UAE did not make proposals in favor of the Palestinian cause, but it signed a humiliating agreement. It is a concession to the U.S. administration because they know well if Trump fails to reach the White House, they will fall,” concludes Gharib.

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