All posts by Nir Boms

17Apr/22

Warm Peace and the Challenge of People to People Relations after the Abraham Accords

U.S., Israeli, Bahraini, and Qatari flags on a mural celebrating the Abraham Accords

Washington Institute, Fikra Forum Policy Analysis

“Today, we already witness a change taking place in the heart of the Middle East, a change that will send hope throughout the world,” said Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE’s Foreign Minister when signing what would be dubbed the Abraham Accords at the White House in August 2020. A move that surprised many, the accords began to shape a new model for relations in the region—especially in its demonstrated interest in people-to-people relations. However, it must also be recognized that creating a “People’s Peace” needs more than words to become a reality. 

The Abraham Accords were crafted in a very different spirit than the earlier peace agreements between Israel and Jordan or Egypt. The Camp David Agreement of 1978 did in fact outline plans to establish normal relations between Egypt and Israel, including diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties. Furthermore, in 1982, a cultural agreement called for the establishment of two academic centers to facilitate cultural ties between the two nations. Yet actual people-to-people (P2P) relations remain effectively nonexistent. While an Israeli center was established in Cairo, it is guarded by Egyptian intelligence who make it clear that Egyptians are not welcomed. Likewise, after 40 years, the gates of the corresponding Egyptian academic center in Tel Aviv still remain unopened.


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17Apr/22

New Tensions in Israel – an Update 

For several years now, Israel’s domestic security situation was considered relatively good, with long periods of quiet occasionally punctured by few incidents and frequent reports of air strikes against hostile targets in neighboring countries.
Military Intelligence nevertheless continued to issue strategic alerts regarding an outbreak of violence emanating from the West Bank, due either to internal Palestinian tensions or individual frustrations. Whatever the cause, the warnings were proved correct with a series of deadly attacks on civilians in major urban centers.
With fear turning to panic, Israel’s political and security leaders tried to go on the offensive, responding to the series of terror attacks with “Operation Waves Breaker,” particularly focused on the Palestinian Authority district of Jenin.
How effective can such missions be and what are the possible repercussions?
Panel:
– Amir Oren, Host; Editor at Large, Host of Watchmen Talk and Powers in Play.
– Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Project Director on Middle East Developments, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
– Dr. Nir Boms, Research Fellow, Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University.
– Col. (Res.) Reuven Ben-Shalom, TV7 Powers-in-Play Panelist, Cross-Cultural Strategist and Associate at ICT, Reichman University.

30Dec/21

Pan Arabism 2.0? The Struggle for a New Paradigm in the Middle East

It is with  pleasure, following eight  months of work, to share the latest monograph I published titled “Pan Arabism 2.0? The Struggle for a New Paradigm in the Middle East” that attempts to analyze the GCC agenda in the decade that culminated with the Abraham Accords.  It argues that the Accords are connected to a broader vision of regional alignment and offer a detailed explanation to how this  “change of heart” came about.

The Abraham Accords, signed in September 2020 have helped shed a light on a new discourse emerging from the Gulf that seeks to challenge some of the old dogmas that have dominated the region in the last few decades. A decade of turmoil that followed what was once dubbed as the “Arab Spring” finds a divided region, full of ethnic and religious conflict, ungoverned territories, and the growing reality of failed states. An “axis of resistance”, led by radical elements from both the Shi’a and the Sunni world, is perceived as a growing challenge to a group of actors led by a number of Gulf countries who identify radicalization as an existential threat. Facing the “axis of resistance”, a new “axis of renaissance” is coming of age with an alternative vision that seeks to change the face of the Middle East. In parallel to the rapid decline of the traditional Arab capitals, the Gulf is emerging as a more significant voice in the region due to its economic, political, and media influence. This article seeks to capture and explain the rise of this new Gulf-led axis and the early formulation of a new agenda of a more tolerant Middle East through a radical reshuffling of the order of priorities in the region.   This is a long piece, co-authored with my colleague Hussein Abubaker. Read the full article here.