The Abraham Accords Can Help Japan Develop Better Relations with the Middle East

Last week, the Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida visited the Persian Gulf, meeting with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. During the trip, he concluded deals for cooperation in technology, green energy, mining, and the exporting of natural gas—alongside discussions of security and diplomatic cooperation. Gedaliah Afterman and Yossi Mann suggest some further steps for Tokyo to take, which include taking advantage of the region’s demand for video games:

Despite their leading positions in the global market, Japanese gaming companies have been noticeably absent from the Middle East. While ultimately this is a matter for the companies themselves, Tokyo could encourage them with a policy framework and other initiatives.

For instance, it could organize a series of public events around the Gulf with various gaming companies. Tokyo could also seek to include gaming in future cooperation agreements in the region. In adapting leading games for the Middle Eastern market, Japanese companies may want to cooperate with Israeli technology developers active in artificial intelligence and natural-language processing.

By building on the new regional dynamic created by the Abraham Accords that normalized relations between Israel on one side and the UAE and several other Muslim states on the other, Japan can position itself as a significant player in shaping the future.

Read more at Nikkei

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel diplomacy, Japan, Persian Gulf


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