A New Alliance among Israel, India, the U.S., and the UAE Can Reshape Western Asia

During his visit to the Middle East last month, President Biden attended a summit of what has come to be known as the I2U2: a four-way forum involving Jerusalem, New Delhi, Washington, and Abu Dhabi. Dov Zakheim presents the historical background of the relations of each country with the others, and then looks to the future:

This new quad evokes parallels to the Indo-Pacific quad consisting of the U.S., India, Japan, and Australia. . . . In particular, like the Indo-Pacific quad, I2U2 is not a military alliance, nor does it explicitly target any particular country.

Indeed, the four partners of I2U2 do not have a common adversary. Whereas the U.S. and Israel see Iran as a major threat—an existential threat in Israel’s case—the UAE maintains trade and diplomatic ties with Iran while India is ambivalent about Iran.

India’s relationship with Iran is cordial but complicated. India stopped importing Iranian oil in 2019 due to America’s “maximal sanctions” on Tehran. Iran also resents India’s close ties with Israel, while India is uneasy about the implications of the recently finalized Iran-China strategic partnership, which has a significant military component. India also is concerned about Iranian support for the Houthis [in Yemen], given its close ties to both the Emirates and the Saudis, who have been the targets of Houthi missile attacks.

At the I2U2 summit, the four countries committed to new cooperation in high-tech, initially on clean energy and food security. At least for the foreseeable future, coordinated military partnership, as opposed to bilateral arrangements between any two of the four countries, is off the table. Nevertheless, . . . the new I2U2 quad may see a tighter military partnership with the passage of time—especially if, as many anticipate, Iran will develop a nuclear bomb that will most certainly destabilize the region.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: Abraham Accords, India, Israel diplomacy, Israel-India relations, U.S. Foreign policy, United Arab Emirates

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security