What Bahrain's Deal with Israel Really Means

(Spectator) Charles Lipson - The deals to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain are significant for several reasons. First, they represent a common regional front against the Iranian threat. They also signal that Arab-Muslim regimes are less concerned with domestic, Islamist opposition to their outreach to Israel. Equally important, they show that the Palestinian Authority no longer holds a veto over fellow Muslims' relations with Israel. This was seen last week when the Arab League refused to condemn the UAE for its accord with Israel. What finally convinced the Arab states to come to the table was actually a shift in U.S. policy. The U.S. stopped seeking a "more balanced," friendly relationship with Iran and a less supportive one with Saudi Arabia and Israel. It vocally opposed Iran's mullahs and is determined to isolate them diplomatically, punish them economically, and block them strategically. Its policy to prevent them from building a nuclear weapon is not a joint agreement, but military deterrence and covert attacks on Iran's nuclear program. By pulling back from direct military engagement in the Middle East while promoting hardline opposition to Iran, the U.S. has forced all Arab-Muslim states in the region to choose between appeasing the mullahs or making a common front against them. The writer is Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago.

2020-09-17 00:00:00

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