Attacks on the UAE from Yemen Will Drive It Closer to Israel

Feb. 18 2022

If oil exports are taken out of the equation, the United Arab Emirates are Iran’s largest trading partner. And despite the strategic tensions between the two nations, diplomatic channels have remained open. Yet recent drone and missile attacks on the UAE by Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen make clear that diplomacy is unlikely to bear much fruit. Hussain Abdul-Hussain and David May explain how these circumstances will strengthen the Abraham Accords:

Houthi attacks on the United Arab Emirates proved what many have known for a long time, that Arab solidarity is an imaginary concept. In Beirut, Hizballah cheered on the strikes. In Gaza, the Hamas politburo member Mahmoud al-Zahar said the attacks were as blessed as “liberating Palestine from the Israeli occupation.” And in Baghdad, the pro-Iran group Alwiyat al-Waad al-Haq gave the Houthis a hand by launching explosive drones at Abu Dhabi.

When it came to the attacks on the UAE, the strongest regional displays of support came from Israel. Israeli gestures of solidarity helped solidify Emirati-Israeli ties, which have been growing since the declaration of peace between them in the Abraham Accords of 2020.

Despite security warnings, [Israel’s President Isaac] Herzog traveled to the UAE in late January, becoming the first Israeli president to visit the country. Israeli defense officials reportedly visited the UAE to discuss defense and intelligence assistance in the wake of the Houthi attacks. And Israel’s Channel 13 reported that Israel is planning to advance the sale of missile-defense systems, possibly including Israel’s famed Iron Dome, to the UAE. For his part, Prime Minister Bennett “ordered the Israeli security establishment to provide their counterparts in the UAE with any assistance” to prevent future attacks.

The bonds enhanced during this crisis may lead to mutual recognition in the UAE and Israel that the two countries do not just face shared threats but may have a shared destiny.

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Read more at Al Arabiya

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela