The Abraham Accords Have Brought the Middle East Closer to Peace

Sept. 19 2023

On the third anniversary of the treaty among the U.S., Israel, and the United Arab Emirates—later joined by Bahrain—Ed Husain reflects on its fruits:

I am writing these lines as I shuttle between Jerusalem and Arab capitals. The Accords helped establish direct flights from Israel to Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, some above Saudi airspace. In the airport lounges of Dubai, I watch ordinary Iranians and Israelis, supposedly sworn enemies, talking about their families and businesses. Trade volumes are increasing annually between Arab nations and Israel from $590 million in 2019 to $3.4 billion last year and will burgeon significantly. With 200 weekly flights, . . . more than a million Israelis have visited the United Arab Emirates. Air traffic has increased between Israel and Morocco, Jordan, and Turkey.

Change takes time and leadership. What the Accords have started must continue and, in the long run, will increase the popularity of peace in Arab countries. Persuading 350 million Arabs will be a more complex challenge than 10 million Israelis, but the work has begun and requires American and regional support.

[Furthermore], the Accords suspended Israeli annexations of disputed territories until 2024 and kept alive Palestinian dreams of a future state. That “normalization, not annexation” model is now on the table for Saudi Arabia to secure a longer term of no expansion. Palestinian leaders from the West Bank have been meeting in Riyadh and Amman to open a new stage of respect and dignity for their people. . . . In a future Palestinian state, we should imagine the presence of Jewish citizens. After all, Israel has a 20-percent Arab population.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel-Arab relations, Palestinians

Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy