Tag Archives: UAE

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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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.

17Sep/20

Does Abraham Accord Mark a Middle Eastern Paradigm Shift or is It Gulf States’ Short-Term Strategy?

Palestinians burn cutouts depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest against the United Arab Emirates' deal with Israel to normalise relations, in Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 14, 2020.

Sputnik News Agency

The UAE and Bahrain have become the third and fourth Arab nations to reconcile with Israel: on 13 August, Abu Dhabi confirmed its willingness to normalise relations with the Jewish state, while on 11 September, Manama jumped on the bandwagon. International observers have discussed how the agreements may affect the balance of power in the region.

On Tuesday, two Gulf monarchies, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, are due to sign the Abraham Accord, a formal peace treaty with Israel, at the White House. US President Donald Trump, who brokered the deal, will preside over the signing ceremony.

Abraham Accord Presents a New Alternative for the Region

“The agreement is very significant”, says Dr Nir Boms, a research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Centre at Tel Aviv University. “I think it will be deeper than the previous agreements in comparison with what we have with Egypt or Jordan. It will be deeper because it’s not just a political agreement – it’s an agreement that has a very strong civic component to it”.

Boms highlights that the groundwork for the peace accords with the two Gulf monarchies was laid over recent years:  “The normalization that is now attributed to Abraham has always existed: over 5,000 Israel companies have already been operating in the Gulf”, he says.

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