Anatomy of a Peace Process
The recently signed Abraham Accords in the United States between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) drastically changed the future of an independent Palestinian state. Although the accords mentioned a reference to a two-state solution to the decades’ long conflict between Israel and Palestine, it actually weakens such prospects.
Then, two more Arab countries, Bahrain and Sudan, normalized relations with Israel. U.S. President Donald Trump announced that there will be more Arab states to follow suit. Palestine leaders are feeling betrayed by these rash of agreements because they believe, and rightly so, that the impetus for Israel to comply with the UN Security Council Resolution 272 signed in 1967 and previous accords to withdraw their forces from territories annexed during the Arab-Israeli war in 1967, is no longer there.
Bahrain even said that the normalization will lead to a more stable Middle East. I beg to differ because on the contrary, these efforts will further militarize the area and could lead to more tension. Besides, the accords were written in a way to leave some wiggle room for Israel not to comply.
It can be recalled that for the longest time, several American presidents subscribed to the conventional wisdom that peace between Israel and the Arab states will only happen if a two-state solution is pursued between Palestine and Israel. However, Trump changed all that when he pursued his own strategy to destabilize the area to stabilize it. It is actually a common American strategy that has proven effective in the past but was never tried by former U.S. presidents to apply on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.
Trump’s initial Middle East policy and strategy approach was actually the brainchild of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner believed that by dangling billions of dollar economic aid money would force Palestinian leaders to fold. But, three years later, the opposite happened. Then Trump, out of nowhere, made a bold move by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. This took everybody by surprise and predicted that the worse will happen.
Well, the worst did happen but not the way most have foreseen it. There was initial outcry and belligerence from the Palestinian side including some minor skirmishes but overall, the resistance ebbed the moment it became clear that nobody was willing to confront by the U.S. military. The worst part is that Arab states are now lining up to recognize Israel. It was a master stroke but not in a good way.
On the surface, it appears that Trump’s different approach might actually work especially that all other previous peace accords failed to abide by the various agreements. When the Kushner initial gambit failed to lure the PLO, there was a lull. At the time, President Benjamin Netanyahu was facing a tough reelection campaign. He was also under the threat of indictment for corruption and therefore, his chances was teetering in the balance and the only man who could save him from an ignominious defeat was Donald Trump.
Trump recognized that a great prospect just opened. He threw his support behind Netanyahu and a quid-pro-quo moment began to unravel. Netanyahu could have gone to jail after losing the election but Trump saved his butt. Trump first step was to recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and proceeded to name an old U.S. facility in the city as its embassy. This proved very valuable and helped Netanyahu get reelected.
Since Trump became president, he was always moist eyed over the possibility of a Nobel Peace Prize - for prestige and for the money (over a million dollars). Trump’s term was dedicated to discrediting his predecessor’s accomplishments that included this coveted award. Trump must have figured that since Netanyahu is now beholden to him, he will use him to achieve his desired outcome – to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Trump’s efforts actually included other moves. The betrayal of the Kurds in Iraq where U.S. troops were withdrawn from Northern Iraq and also in Afghanistan, were presented as his efforts to improve "fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses," as a Nobel citation would say. The Abraham Accords landed him that nomination. But will he get it?
Trump will not get it because his selfish motives will become evident when the committee considers his nomination. First, the betrayal of the Kurds was done contrary to the wishes of his senior military advisers. He did it actually for Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan was under investigation in the United States for bank fraud. Erdogan was withholding evidence implicating Trump and the Saudi Crown Prince to the grisly murder of Adnan Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey.
The withdrawal of troops in Syria was to appease Russia president Vladimir Putin. Both dictators are now lording it over in those territories. First, Turkey invaded portions of Northern Iraq to wall-off the Kurdish army. It has also taken over portions of a territory claimed by Greece. The Syrian Army began a massive push towards the Kurds enclave where the last bastion of Syrian rebel resistance was holed up. The U.S. troops’ presence in these areas previously prevented such escalations.
And now for the Abraham Accords named after the Muslim prophet, the UAE got the following: the highly advanced F-35 stealth fighter and EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. For Bahrain, they got a “reassurance” for a halt in Israel annexation of Palestinian territory and gifted with F-35 fighter jets, Reaper drones and EA-18G Growler jets. With such sophisticated gifts, the UAE and Bahrain now join Saudi Arabia in having more advanced weapons of war that they are using to kill more Yemenis – Iran’s proxy.
Sudan’s normalizing move with Israel raised a lot of eyebrows. Sudan was previously designated as a state that sponsors terror for the bombing of the U. S. embassies in Africa engineered by the Osama bin Laden, then based in Sudan. Sudan’s move guaranteed the country’s removal from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. The economic sanctions on Sudan were also lifted, plus billions of dollar of international debt will be condoned.
The biggest prize will be Saudi Arabia joining the Abraham Accords by establishing diplomatic relations with Israel in the very near future. Saudi Arabia was sold sophisticated U.S. weaponries before plus given the green light to pursue nuclear weapons.
With these rich Arab states having advance military weapons, Israel is no longer safe. Israel once boasted about their military superiority over these Arab states. With the F-35 jet fighter, these Arab states can now deploy bunker busting bombs that could penetrate Israel’s Iron Dome. They are also now better prepared to deal with Iran. All these, in the name of peace, a boost in the U.S. presidential election, and hopefully, a Nobel Peace Prize.