By Richard Walker
The Trump administration’s touting of the decision of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel to renew diplomatic relations as a major achievement may be mainly about political spin aimed at improving Benyamin Netanyahu’s political prospects.
Netanyahu has been under considerable pressure from his extreme right supporters to annex the West Bank and finally ensure there will be no future Palestinian state. If he is to remain in power, however, he needs that support. Fortunately, he was able to announce that his planned annexation was being delayed in response to the UAE signing a diplomatic pact with Israel. The Palestinians called the pact a betrayal even as the UAE announced that it had managed to stop annexation. The truth, however, was that all Netanyahu did was postpone it. The deal with the UAE got him out of a deep political hole because opposition to his annexation plans was growing in Israel and throughout the Arab world. He needed a political bailout, and he got it.
President Donald Trump hailed the pact as a great success, but like Netanyahu he also had politics on his mind. What he did not address was whether his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who once promised an historic plan to solve all Middle East crises, made secret promises of military aid to persuade UAE leader Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, otherwise known as MBZ, to make the alliance with Israel. Reports have begun surfacing that the UAE, which has been lobbying Washington for years to acquire F35 fighters, was given guarantees by Kushner that restrictions on the sale would soon be lifted. The advanced fighter is the crown jewel in the Israeli arsenal, and Israel has been able to influence who gets it in the Middle East. Many people familiar with the Middle East see the hand of Saudi leader Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) in the formulation of the UAE announcement. He just happens to be a close friend of Kushner, who has Netanyahu, his family friend, as his behind-the-scenes adviser.
The questions that are not being asked by the mainstream media are what this pact will mean for the United States and how the UAE, a tiny nation of 9 million spread across a federation of seven emirates such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, packs so much political punch. It has massive oil wealth and it has invested heavily in media of all kinds, allowing it considerable reach throughout and beyond the Middle East. It has bought considerable influence in Washington, and it has spent heavily with U.S. arms manufacturers. In return, with Washington’s help, it has built a modern arsenal and an army whose officer corps has been trained by the U.S. military.
Like most monarchies, it fears change, and just like its closest ally, Saudi Arabia, it has been meddling throughout the region. For years, it has worked secretly with Israel at Washington’s prompting. As for Israel, it prefers Arab countries that are run by despots. It exploited the UAE’s fear of Iran to draw it closer
to Israel’s regional objectives.
While the announcement of this pact prior to November may have appealed to the Trump White House, the UAE will be the victor if it can buy F35s. In contrast, U.S. relations may suffer. NATO member Turkey has been in a war of words with the UAE for broadcasting the message across the region that the Turks support terrorism in the form of their support for the Muslim Brotherhood. The UAE also alleges that Israel is rooting for peace, which would be a complete about-face of the bellicose policies it has pursued since its creation in 1948. There have also been clashes between UAE and Turkish forces in the Libyan conflict in which the two countries are on opposite sides. The UAE and the Saudis fear Turkey and despise those who make a comparison between their despotic regimes and Turkey’s, which is seen by many Muslims as too secular and too Western. They despise Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s leader, because he has cleverly managed to marry and control the powerful elements of political and religious Islam. He has also backed the Muslim Brotherhood and the Arab royals fear it most of all, seeing it as the organization that could bring about the downfall of their kingdoms.
The UAE’s political power since the 1990s has resided in Washington where it has spent billions of dollars on lobbyists. It has spent much more with U.S. arms manufacturers and has assisted the CIA in its covert operations in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. In return, its role in war crimes in Yemen has been ignored. The fact that it punches above its political weight makes it a volatile ingredient in a region where several conflicts are ongoing and the major powers are involved, mostly in a covert manner. This pact illustrates how Kushner and fellow Zionists within the Trump administration have shaped U.S. foreign policy for personal ends, ignoring the longer-term risks of their decisions. The Iranians say this deal will not make the region safer, and they may have a point.
Richard Walker is the nom de plume of a former New York mainstream news producer who grew tired of seeing his articles censored by his bosses.