Why are Gulf Countries mending ties with Israel?

International Oct 12, 2020

Israel, formally known as the State of Israel, is a powerful nation located in Western Asia, located on the south-eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest.

On 14 May 1948 the State of Israel was established by the Israeli Declaration of Independence. The Arab League and Arab countries were opposed to any partition of Palestine, and to the establishment of Israel, and took military action against the newly formed state in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
16 of the 22 members of the Arab League do not recognize Israel, these are countries like Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

The tension between the GCC(Gulf Cooperation Council) countries and Israel has always been high, but recently The United Arab Emirates formally established diplomatic relations with Israel. Following UAE, Bahrain and Oman are also moving towards establishing diplomatic relations with Israel.

But why is it happening now ?

Mainly it's because the overlapping strategic developments have contributed to the GCC state's changing perception Israel from an enemy to a potential partner. Another reason could be the common enemy Iran, Iranian-Arab strategic partnership is not likely in the foreseeable future. The ongoing mistrust provides an opening for Israel to present itself as a potential partner to the GCC states in countering Iran’s nuclear, cyber, proxy, and missile programs.

There are a lot of complications with Turkey too, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain are suspicious of the intentions of both Iran and Turkey. This has created a vacuum that Israel seeks to exploit. Animosity between Erdoğan(Turkish President) and Netanyahu, and the fact that Erdoğan presents himself as the protector of Palestinians including efforts to break the sea blockade of the Gaza Strip and bolster his influence over holy sites in East Jerusalem add to the forces driving Israel and the GCC states closer.

Israel's military power and it's technological capabilities also play a humongous role in the Gulf's move to mend their ties, the advances Israel has made in both military and civilian technologies have made Israel a more attractive partner for GCC states seeking to advance their national security and economic interests.

Change of leadership in the GCC countries can also be a reason for this new perspective, but things are not going to change so easily just because the new leaders decided to co-operate.
Still the development of relations between the GCC and Israel would prove to be instrumental in their amelioration.

This article has been written by Yashovardhan Tiwary for The Paradigm

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