The domino effect that Donald Trump seeks in the Middle East to confront Iran

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The president of the United States wants more Persian Gulf countries to recognize Israel, after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

US President Donald Trump wants to unleash a domino effect in the Persian Gulf: he wants more Arab countries to follow in the wake of the UAE and Bahrain in recognizing Israel to ultimately create a Sunni coalition against to the Shiite Republic of Iran.

“The US is trying to strengthen the coalition against Iran, it is trying to unite its allies against the Islamic Republic,” Hussein Ibish, an analyst at the Institute of the Arab Gulf Countries in Washington, told EFE news agency.

At the same time, the president is using the new agreements with Israel to portray yourself to the American public as an “effective leader” worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, which has been nominated by a Norwegian MP, Ibish argues.

Since coming to power in 2017, Trump has structured his foreign policy in the Middle East around two ideas: the persecution of Iran, which he has punished with heavy penalties, and the protection of Israel, its great ally in the region and to which it has granted countless concessions, such as the recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.

That is why, for Washington, it is an achievement that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have decided to break the Arab boycott that has been weighing on Israel for more than seven decades and that, until now, had only infringed Egypt and Jordan, which recognized Israel in 1979 and 1994, respectively.

It is, however, a relative achievement for the US, since neither the Arab Emirates nor Bahrain are “central actors” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and they have never sent troops to fight against Israel, Bruce Riedel tells EFE , who advised former US President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) in his negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

With the pact, Israel gains recognition from its regional neighbors as a legitimate member of the Middle East; while the Emirates and Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is located, harvest the American favor in the event of an aggression by the Islamic Republic.

“The agreements are more about the US than about the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain want is to ensure that Washington will protect them against Iran,” says Riedel.

In practice, the establishment of diplomatic ties will make it possible to open embassies, favor tourism and, above all, play a fundamental role in the exchange of intelligence and military technology.

In this sense, the “great winner” of the pact is the crown prince of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, thinks in a telephone conversation with EFE Aaron David Miller, a former diplomat who has advised US governments of both parties on the peace process.

Specifically, Al Nahyan has managed to get the US to sell him the F-35 fighter jets, which represents a break with the rule that forces Washington to guarantee Israel’s military supremacy in the Middle East.

According to the newspaper The New York TimesDuring the negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the go-ahead, although he has denied it due to criticism from within Israel.

Thus, if Al Nahyan is the winner, on the other side of the coin are the Palestinians, who are even more isolated internationally, Miller points out.

Meanwhile, the unknown remains Saudi Arabia which, as a result of the agreements, will open its airspace to flights between the United Arab Emirates and Israel and will undoubtedly be closely watching the results of the agreements, especially if Israel annexes. Palestinian territories or if violence breaks out between Palestinians and Israelis.

The experts consulted consider it unlikely that Saudi Arabia will follow in the short term in the wake of the Emirates and Bahrain, although doing so “what is now a merely transactional agreement would become a transformative one” for the Middle East, warns Miller.

Saudi Arabia has an incomparable geopolitical weight: in 1973 the kingdom led the oil embargo against the countries that had supported Israel during the Yom Kippur war and, in addition, promoted the Arab Peace Initiative, signed by the members of the Arab League in 2002.


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