Abraham Accords meet with mostly positive response in region: analysts

By Sultan al-Barei in Riyadh


UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (L) and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani pose before they participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords that normalise ties between their countries and Israel, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., September 15th. [Saul Loeb/AFP]

Regional reactions to the Abraham Accords, a US-brokered normalisation agreement signed in September between Israel, the UAE and now Bahrain, have been mostly positive, analysts told Al-Mashareq.

The foreign ministers of Israel and the UAE on Tuesday (October 6th) took part in a historic first meeting in Berlin, a major step forward for their new relations.

It was the first face-to-face meeting between Israel's Gabi Ashkenazi and UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan since their countries set aside decades of enmity and signed a deal to normalise ties, AFP reported.

Following talks hosted by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the UAE and Israeli ministers voiced readiness to open co-operation in fields including technological development and security.

Issues including the setting up of embassies or establishing of air links were brought up during the talks, Ashkenazi said.

Maas called the Israel-UAE agreement the "first good news in the Middle East for a long time".

But he urged the parties to go further and for the region to seize the momentum to find lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"This opportunity must be seized," said Maas, whose country currently holds the presidency of the EU, voicing the readiness of the bloc to help.

Agreement hinders IRGC's plans

The exception has been the reactions of Iranian officials, analysts told Al-Mashareq, as the agreement hinders the plans of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which are rooted in creating instability and insecurity.

"Positive reactions outweigh negative ones, which shows general support for the initiative," said Abdullah al-Dakhil, a lecturer at King Saud University's faculty of political science, in Riyadh.

"Any initiative that promotes peace in the Middle East would garner support after years of tension and instability," he told Al-Mashareq. "UAE and Bahrain leaders put their people's political, security and economic interests above all else."

"Signing the accords required will and bold decision-making amid great challenges, as it breaks the stereotypical thinking toward Israel," he said.

Fathi al-Sayed, an Iranian affairs researcher at al-Sharq Centre for Regional and Strategic Studies, said the accords will curb the Iranian regime's incursions through anticipated alliances.

This does not fit with the IRGC's plans to foment chaos and instability through the IRGC's Quds Force, he said.

Meanwhile, al-Sayed added, the accords "block extremist terrorist groups by strengthening the region's security".

'Opportunity for communication'

"The Abraham Accords are a historic opportunity for the Palestinian people, too," Ajman University law professor Khalid al-Zubi told Al-Mashareq.

"The accords will bring about communication and dialogue which will serve Palestinians by defusing tension," he said, noting that the agreement "will undoubtedly change the rules of political games in the region".

The UAE is a global financial hub, and its economy will flourish as a result of the accords, with new opportunities for investment and financial co-operation at both regional and international levels, al-Zubi said.

"The only way to confront the pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the tension caused by the IRGC is through regional and global co-operation," he said.

"The accords will have a larger impact than individual efforts of any country," he added.

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