Arab-Israeli alliance strengthened

The top leaders of Egypt, the Emirates and Israel met in Cairo to address the challenges facing the region

AFP/EAU MINISTRY OF PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS  -   Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Israel on Tuesday staged the consolidation of the Arab-Israeli alliance that continues to strengthen, following in the wake of the famous Abraham Accords sealed in September 2020 under the auspices of the United States during the presidency of Donald Trump.

Cairo hosted a tripartite summit between Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President of Egypt, Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister of Israel, to discuss issues of importance to the interests of these countries and of security and balance in the Middle East.

AFP/ EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY - Handout photo released by the Egyptian Presidency on March 22, 2022 shows President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

According to the Al-Arab media, diplomatic sources indicated that this alliance sends a clear signal to Saudi Arabia to join this movement to strengthen ties between various Arab countries and Israel in order to bring stability to the region and in the face of a delicate situation due to the United States' abandonment of foreign policy in the region. The US administration has already shifted its interests towards Asia to confront its great economic and geopolitical rival: China. This lack of interest in the Middle East on the part of the US giant has already led to a cooling of relations with the Saudi kingdom and the Emirates, which have not supported the United States in its recent wishes to ask for more support for sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine and to request an increase in oil production to lower crude oil prices, to which the Emirates and the Kingdom responded by indicating that they will respect the production levels agreed within OPEC+, of which Russia is a member.

El presidente Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (izq.) dando la bienvenida al príncipe heredero de Abu Dhabi y vicecomandante supremo de las Fuerzas Armadas de los EAU, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a su llegada a la localidad egipcia de Sharm el-Sheikh, en el Mar Rojo AFP PHOTO/PRESIDENCIA EGIPCIA
AFP PHOTO/EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) welcoming Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan upon his arrival in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

It could be deduced that Egypt, the Emirates and Israel are sending a message to Saudi Arabia to join this alliance due to the changes taking place in the region. Bearing in mind that the United States, in addition to having shifted the focus away from the Middle East, has also moved closer to the Islamic Republic of Iran, giving the option of resuming the nuclear pact with the Persian country, which could lead to the development of nuclear weapons (something that Tehran denies) and giving the option of removing sanctions and allowing Iran to increase its oil revenues, which could be used for further arms development.

Following the Abraham Accords, whereby in September 2020 Arab countries such as the Emirates and Bahrain established diplomatic ties with the Israeli state, other nations such as Morocco and Sudan also developed deep ties with Israel, which have favoured economic, commercial, technological and arms agreements that have made possible a position of cooperation with the Hebrew country, which in the past was the target of hostility from neighbouring Arab countries, and the establishment of stability in the region that allows common enemies, such as Iran, to be cornered. 

Combatientes Houthi armados asisten a la procesión fúnebre de los combatientes rebeldes Houthi que murieron en combates con las fuerzas del gobierno internacionalmente reconocido de Yemen AP/HANI MOHAMMED
AP/HANI MOHAMMED - Armed Houthi fighters attend the funeral procession of Houthi rebel fighters killed in fighting with the forces of Yemen's internationally recognised government.

It could be deduced that the absence of the United States in the Middle East, as evidenced by the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and the reported reduction of arms support to the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia, of which the United Arab Emirates is a member, is fighting on the ground in the war in Yemen against the Houthi rebels, a rebel militia that seeks to undermine the legitimate Yemeni government and which is supported by Iran, the banner of the Shia branch of Islam in opposition to the Sunni branch sponsored by Saudi Arabia, can be compensated by this Arab-Israeli alliance which, with its development, can bring security to the region and also economic and commercial progress, as is becoming clear with the agreements and memoranda signed by Israel and several of the Arab countries mentioned. In addition, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have suffered drone and missile attacks on their own territory by the Iranian-backed Houthis, which has caused these Arab countries to cool their relationship with the United States, pointing to its political neglect of the region and its lack of greater support, as reported by various media outlets such as Al-Arab.

El director general de la Organización Internacional de la Energía Atómica (OIEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, a la izquierda, habla con el jefe de la Organización de la Energía Atómica de Irán, Mohammad Eslami, durante su reunión en Teherán, el 5 de marzo de 2022 AP/VAHID SALEMI
AP/VAHID SALEMI - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, left, speaks with the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, during their meeting in Tehran on 5 March 2022.

Security was therefore an important point in the meeting between President Al-Sisi, Bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Naftali Bennett in the face of the threats posed by Iran, with its interference in the affairs of other states through the intervention of Shi'ite groups that support the Ayatollahs' regime (such as the Houthis in Yemen or Hezbollah in Lebanon) or even Turkey, with the expansionist attitude of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government that has led the Ottoman country to intervene in conflicts such as those in Libya and Syria.

According to Al-Arab, the Egyptian administration led by President Al-Sisi also said that the three leaders discussed the stability of energy markets and food security, challenges faced by countries such as Egypt itself in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine that has led to soaring wheat and oil prices. Egypt is facing severe economic pressures due to the repercussions of the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory, and the government on Monday devalued the local currency (the pound) by around 14% against foreign currencies to cope with the economic impact. 

WHITE HOUSE/SHEALAH CRAIGHEAD - Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan during the signing ceremony of the normalisation agreements (Abraham Accords) between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE.

"We are clearly witnessing the strengthening of an axis that presents another narrative in the Middle East, which is that we can work and cooperate together on economic and defence issues," Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Aidan Roll said, as reported by Al-Arab. "Israel is committed to establishing a good partnership with anyone to confront the extremist axis of Iran," he noted.

Israel's prime minister has been clear since taking office that his government must strengthen political, economic and security partnerships with Egypt, the UAE and other Arab countries to address regional challenges.

Bennett visited Egypt in September, the first visit by an Israeli prime minister in ten years, and also visited Abu Dhabi in December, the first official visit by an Israeli prime minister to the UAE.