The Abraham Accords Aren’t Dead, and Peace with Saudi Arabia Remains on the Table

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken—fresh from a meeting with the Saudi crown prince—was asked about the possibility of normalization between Riyadh and Jerusalem, and responded that there remains a “clear interest” in the prospect. There is no reason to believe that he was engaged in wishful thinking. John Allen Gay observes that, since October 7, “the Abraham Accords states and their near-partner Saudi Arabia have not retreated from their stance on Israel, but are digging in to defend it.”

The Israelis and the conservative monarchies share three fears. First, they fear Iran and its network of proxies and partners around the region. Second, they fear Islamist agitation in the region—not only violent jihadism, but also brands of Islamism that give jihadism running room or that threaten to change the regional order. Third, they fear that the United States will abandon them or drift toward neutrality in their rivalry with Iran. The Abraham Accords, for them, respond to all three challenges by deepening ties in a U.S.-backed, anti-Islamist, anti-Iranian partnership.

Read more at Providence

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel diplomacy, Saudi Arabia

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy