The Abrahamic Accords by Rubin Rothler LLB, LLM
The Abraham Accords were the crowning achievement of Trump’s foreign policy.
The agreement essentially forged a normalization of peaceful diplomatic relations between Israel and the Gulf States of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The accords are named after the Patriarch Abraham, in recognition of the shared espoused origins of Judaism and Islam being monotheitic Abrahamic religions. Sudan and Morocco soon followed suit. In all, four Arab nations embraced rapprochement with Israel. This was the first major diplomatic overture between Israel and its Arab neighbours since the peace treaty with Jordan in 1994.
Israel and the UAE in particular have long engaged in clandestine trade, particularly involving high tech industries. But the accords further enhanced bilateral trade and have created new avenues for investment. Indeed, the northern coastal outskirts of Tel Aviv are the ‘silicon wadi’ of the Middle East, capturing heavy U.S. hi-tech investment. Furthermore, advanced Israeli implementation of water desalination technology and its deep desertification technology have almost miraculously created a fresh water surplus in Israel. Access to this technology and capital investment in them, are a key inducement to make the Abraham Accords work. The UAE has placed an emphasis on economic development in finance, tourism and the hi-tech sphere.
Beyond commerce, the core element cementing the broaching of ties between Israel and the aforementioned Arab Sunni states is the common threat from Iran. The weakness and unreliability exhibited by Biden’s administration that was witnessed in the Afghanistan debacle, and the concessions and pandering to Iran (continuing the policies of Obama that were terminated by Trump) – has compelled the Sunni Arab nations to find an alternative ally against the threat from Iran and its Shia proxies. This has become accentuated by the Houthi conflict in Yemen, and its proximate threat to Saudi Arabia. The ramifications of this is a distancing of Saudi and UAE support for Palestinian nationalism, in large part due to Iranian control of Hamas and Hizbollah.
Israel is determined to shape events as they come. Israel’s prior Minister of Regional Cooperation has proposed that Saudi Arabia will normalise relations with Jerusalem “in the next few months”. Speaking in London, Ofir Akunis informed the Jewish Chronicle that the world should expect other countries in addition to the Saudis to sign peace treaties with Israel soon as well. The leading Likud politician, speaking to the Jewish Chronicle on a visit to Britain organised by the Pinsker Centre to mark two years since the Abraham Accords were signed, said: “I hope and I suppose that in the next few months other countries and other states will announce normalisation with Israel and take positive steps, before new peace treaties.” He added: “I can say I think [if] Saudi Arabia or any other country in our region will want to normalise connections with Israel they will find our open hearts and our open doors.” The former minister said if his party was returned to office, improved relations with regional neighbours would be top of the agenda. “It’s a priority to sign new peace treaties with our neighbours, that’s what we said from the very first beginning of the establishment of the Likud.” Another dimension to consider is that Saudi Arabia is trying to play catch up with the Gulf States in terms of economic development. Under the de facto leadership of Prince Salman the desert kingdom is constructing a new hi-tech super city called Neom. It lies at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, strategically placed at the gateway to Eilat – which is Israel’s port of trade with the Indo-Pacific.
In principle the accord was fermenting a proposed harmony of the three Abrahamic faiths as a premise for an agenda that is chiefly political, economic and strategic. This has the inclusion of both church and synagogue worship, together with Islam in a multifaith center in Abu Dhabi. “The Abrahamic Family House epitomizes interfaith harmonious coexistence and preserves the unique character of each religion,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi and a member of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity. The three-building complex was designed by architect David Adjaye, and “captures the values shared between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam” as well as “innovatively recounts the history and builds bridges between human civilizations and heavenly messages,” according to the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office. This has created something of a theological dilemma for the evangelical supporters of Trump. While this faction largely remains supportive of the Trump foreign policy legacy in the Middle East, conservative evangelicals have a doctrinal prohibition against interfaith worship, and a prophetic belief that the figure of a coming antichrist will unify religious systems along the lines of the pantheons of ancient Babylon and Rome. He will use this as a platform to seductively bring a false peace to the Middle East – that will climax with a rebuilding and defilement of the Jewish Temple (on the same mount currently occupied by the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem).
Overall, it can be observed that further integration of Israel into the region is somewhat inevitable. The interests of Israel and the Sunni Arab world are becoming increasingly aligned both economically and politically. With every step that Iran comes closer to proliferating nuclear weapons the anxiety in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem increases. As Haaretz reports “the establishment of a regional defense alliance, which will include Israel and a number of other Mideast countries, has breathed new life into the familiar idea of founding ‘the NATO of the Middle East’. This would be a sort of coalition of Arab nations, which along with Israel would set up a defensive shield against the shared threat that is Iran.” Indeed, formal ties with Israel is a recognition of its strategic prowess as a partner against Iran. “It should be a no-brainer for the international community that we are not just a legitimate player but a key player,” said Eliav Benjamin, the Israeli foreign ministry’s Middle East department director. “Countries that were shying away are interested to hear what we have to say. In a tough neighborhood, we’ve met the challenges. Israel punches way over its weight, but rightly so.”
The status of Taiwan has of course been an ongoing issue for decades, since it was called Formosa. China has openly exhibited its intent to ‘reunify’ with the Island over the past 70 years since its founding. In view of China’s non compliance with its autonomy accords in Hong Kong has fueled an independence movement in Taiwan. The conflict between Mao and Chiang Kai Shek has been redefined and yet rejuvenated. Given the almost insurmountable odds of victory in this endeavor, perhaps Taiwan is more meaningful to the Chinese Communist Party as a perpetual symbolic nemesis that ignites a sense of nationalism at home. It helps with its messaging that the US’s principle objective is to contain China with a ring of allies spanning from Japan and South Korea to the Indian Ocean. Like Japan in the 1930’s, China is attempting to shirk off the American led containment of its ambitions for regional supremacy in the Indo Pacific. However in terms of strategy for accomplishing this goal, China has placed an emphasis on ‘soft power’ through its belt and road initiative. It has mostly shown military restraint. But its moves to annex the South China Sea is always accompanied by the subtle threat of force.
One must also not forget however, that the Chinese Communist Party regime has already in the past ‘wagged its proverbial dog’ when the Cultural Revolution threatened the stability of the government , shaking the political survivability of the party and Mao and Cho En Lai reacted by staging a border shootout with the Soviet Union on the banks of the Armour River as a means of solidifying a divided nation in the face of a common foe.
The precedent for such options has already been long set.