U.S. seeks to build coalition that is dead on arrival

Dancing on the thin ice

December 12, 2020 - 10:41

TEHRAN – U.S. President Donald Trump has once again announced a normalization deal between Israel and an Arab country. This time, the U.S. president said Morocco is going to establish diplomatic ties with Israel. An expert on West Asia tells the Tehran Times that normalization deals between Israel and some Arab states are meant to cover up the weak spot of the parties that sign them.

“Today, I signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara.  Morocco's serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal is the ONLY basis for a just and lasting solution for enduring peace and prosperity! Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East! [West Asia],” Trump said in a tweet on Thursday.

The U.S. president added, “Morocco recognized the United States in 1777.  It is thus fitting we recognize their sovereignty over the Western Sahara.”

Western Sahara is a disputed in northwestern Africa that Morocco and the Polisario Front both have a claim to it. The Polisario Front is a separatist movement of the Sahrawi ethnic group that seeks to establish an independent state in Western Sahara. The others were the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Bahrain.

Just like other recent normalization deals, the Moroccan-Israeli one was condemned by many countries and resistance groups. The Palestinian groups were at the forefront of those who condemned the deal.

Bassam al-Salhi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, denounced the deal as “unacceptable.”

“Any Arab retreat from the [2002] Arab Peace Initiative, which stipulates that normalization comes only after Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands, is unacceptable and increases Israel’s belligerence and its denial of the Palestinian people’s rights,” al-Salhi noted.

Hazem Qassem, the spokesman of Hamas, also slammed the normalization deal as “sin.”

“This is a sin and it doesn’t serve the Palestinian people. The Israeli occupation uses every new normalization to increase its aggression against the Palestinian people and increase its settlement expansion,” the spokesman said.

Iran also condemned the Moroccan-Israeli deal, just as it did on all previous deals between Israel and other Arab countries.

“The declaration of the normalization of relations [between] Arab Morocco with the fake entity that occupies Jerusalem is a betrayal and a stab on the back of resistant Palestine. If some Arab rulers neglect the authentic Muhammadan Islam, they should at least reflect on Arab jealousy. The Zionists will have no place in the future of the region,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the special aide to the speaker of the Iranian Parliament on international affairs, said in a tweet on Friday.

The Morocco-Israel normalization deal came at a time when the United States is scrambling to withdraw its troops or at least reduce their numbers in the region. Some analysts believe that the normalization deals are an attempt to create a coalition of Arab and Israeli forces to fill the vacuum after the U.S. pulls its troop out of the region but analysts point to the weak spots of this presumptive coalition.

“Americans were forced to pursue the issue of normalizing ties with Israel, which is, in fact, should be called a publicization of ties, in order to further ensure the security of the Zionist regime [Israel], and if the region’s nations had accepted the normalization, many more countries would have normalized relations with Israel. However, a few countries with remarkable weak spots and no popular support have accepted the humiliation of normalizing ties with Israel,” Seyed Reza Sadr al-Hosseini, an expert on West Asia, told the Tehran Times.

According to the expert, countries including Morocco that normalized diplomatic ties with Israel have betrayed the Palestinian Cause. Sadr al-Hosseini said that remarkable pressure was put on Morocco to push the African Arab country into accepting the normalization with Israel.

The expert pointed to the trade-off that was offered within the Morocco-Israel deal, saying that Morocco agreed to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for the U.S recognizing the Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, a move that is a “direct interference in the affairs of another country and that the Polisario Front can certainly pursue the issue legally in the United Nations.”

Sadr al-Hosseini said that the normalization deals cannot negatively affect the Resistance Axis, because these deals were made in an effort to cover up the failures of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu domestically. He also pointed out that the U.S. and its allies in the region think that they can put pressure on the Resistance Axis and the Muslim world by pushing forward with normalization deals.

“They thought that the Resistance Front would collapse if they put pressure on the center of Resistance i.e. Iran but they failed,” the expert remarked.

The whole issue of normalization has been presented as a way to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region, with some experts believing that the normalization is an American policy that intends to pave the way for the withdrawal of the U.S. forces from the region.

But recent events in the region may be indicative of a policy that was dead on arrival. While the Trump administration works to create a unified front against Iran, U.S. allies in the region show no interest in standing united against Iran. Saudi Arabia, which the Israelis have called it a big prize, has recently sought to distance itself from the normalization trend.

Saudi Arabia’s former ambassador to the U.S. Prince Turki al-Faisal al Saud strongly criticized Israel last week at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Manama Dialogue in Bahrain.

The influential Saudi prince said Israel has “incarcerated [Palestinians] in concentration camps under the flimsiest of security accusations – young and old, women and men, who are rotting there without recourse to justice.”

“They are demolishing homes as they wish and they assassinate whomever they want,” he added.

Prince al-Faisal also reiterated the Saudi position of the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the territory Israel captured in 1967.

“You cannot treat an open wound with palliatives and pain killers,” the prince said.

The Saudi prince’s fiery remarks were the latest sign that the coalition that the U.S. wants to put together against Iran lacks political and cultural homogeneity, which will make the coalition doomed to fail.


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