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The UAE’s main reasons for normalizing relations with Israel

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Farzad Ramezani Bonesh

Senior Researcher and Analyst of International Affairs

The UAE and Israel recently announced the normalization of their relations. According to a joint statement, US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan agreed to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE. The following article addresses the UAE’s main reasons for normalizing relations with Israel.

Geopolitical motives

In recent years, the UAE has sought to strengthen its regional power by putting on the agenda a kind of active foreign policy at the regional and trans-regional level. Therefore, it has made a lot of investments in Bab Al-Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, etc.

In fact, the UAE seems to believe that normalizing relations with Israel could help the UAE’s efforts to penetrate the Horn of Africa, maintain security in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait and the Red Sea, ensure navigation security, and prevent attacks and disrupt the region’s economy.

In addition, welcoming of the “agreement” between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations by many Western powers is considered as a kind of strengthening of the UAE’s relations with Israel’s allies.

Strengthening cooperation in the field of nuclear and new technologies

In recent years, the UAE has authorized the operation of a nuclear reactor at its newly built plant on the shores of the Persian Gulf. The UAE is one of the first Arab countries to acquire nuclear energy.

In addition, the UAE has invested heavily in new technologies. Therefore, they expect that the normalization process could lead to the more presence of Israeli companies specializing in advanced technologies, nuclear, cyber, food industry, desalination and agriculture, energy, aerospace, tourism development, artificial intelligence, transportation and extraction of natural resources and. .. in the UAE.

Expanding military and security cooperation

The UAE is one of the main importers of weapons in the Middle East. Since it is not able to compete with the most populous and large countries in the region in order to become a regional power, it tries to make up for its shortcomings by participating in regional crises, cooperating with major powers, and strengthening military power.

In this direction, the UAE has looked at Israel’s export potential and cooperation in the military and security fields, such as modern intelligence tools including spy planes, strengthening cooperation in various exercises, and so on.

Development of economic relations

UAE GDP by the end of 2019, compared to 2018, has grown by 3.77%. It is also one of the most successful Arab economies. One-third of the country’s economy is made up of oil and gas and non-oil sectors, which makes up about 70% of the UAE’s GDP. Meanwhile, in general, the policy of the UAE in the process of normalization of relations with Israel is also affected by the provision of economic benefits. Therefore, attracting Israeli foreign direct investment in industry, trade, construction, transportation, tourism, etc. has a special role in the country’s economy.

In fact, from this point of view, apart from the expectations of economic profit and increasing economic relations, the direct presence of Israeli companies in this country, such as Expo 2020 Dubai, etc., will be a wonderful opportunity.

Further strengthening relations with the US

In recent years, the UAE has paid special attention to the Arab-Israeli alliance in the Middle East. Under these circumstances, it sees the current situation as the best time to move towards the formation of a non-conflict agreement and bilateral cooperation between Israel and the Arab countries with the support of the United States.

In recent years, along with the Twitter communication of UAE and Israeli officials, their joint presence at the international summits and attending the unveiling ceremony of the Century Deal Plan created opportunities for normalization of relations.

Meanwhile, Trump’s efforts to succeed in the deal of the century and the process of normalizing US-led Israeli-UAE relations which he uses it to win the next election could also be an opportunity for the UAE to further strengthen ties with the United States. In addition, an agreement between Israel and the UAE could pave the way for more arms sales from the United States to Abu Dhabi.

Further Israeli support for the UAE’s confrontation with Turkey

In general, the political differences between Ankara and Abu Dhabi are in to be agree or not to be agree with the Brotherhood. Therefore, the scope of disputes in recent years has been increasing in Libya, Qatar, Egypt, the failed coup against Erdogan, its presence in Africa, Syria, the Eastern Mediterranean, Somalia, Tunisia, and so on.

The UAE believes that by normalizing relations and Israel’s support for the UAE’s position vis-.-Vis Turkey, they will be able them to strengthen and expand their cooperation with Israel in the region and in crises such as Libya. Now, and in such circumstances, Turkey has joined the ranks of opponents of the Israeli-UAE agreement.

Have a leading role in the Arab-Israeli peace

From the point of view of the UAE, refusing to communicate with Israel for seventy years has not been beneficial, so it must change its approach to a new method. Therefore, at least they can have cooperation on non-political issues. Therefore, the leaders of the UAE seem to believe that most Arab and Islamic countries have accepted the existence of Israel as an undeniable fact in the region, mentally and practically, for about three decades. Therefore, they hope that Israel will be accepted by many Arab countries in the region.

In this regard, Abu Dhabi hopes that given its role in the Arab world, the other Arab countries will follow it and normalize their relations with Israel.

Pressure on Iran

Facing the Iran’s threat has played an important role in past closed-door talks between the two sides. Even though the UAE has eased tensions with Iran over the past year, normalizing relations with Israel could be a step towards isolating Iran’s role in the region and crises such as Palestine.

On the other hand, they have a look at mutual interests in the issue of Iran’s containment policy and joint opposition to Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, the UAE seems to be trying to use the Israeli card to regulate relations with Iran.