Middle East Peace — One Step Closer

Comes now the recent rapprochement between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel. But, first, some background, shall we?

Our country has been indelibly marked by the status of peace in the Middle East in four important ways:

 1. We have supported Israel through a series of wars with the 1973 Yom Kippur War almost ending with a tragic outcome that was prevented by direct American military material support.

Had the US not sent replacement tanks to make up battlefield losses against the Syrians in the Golan Heights, the Syrians might have taken Tel Aviv. It was a very close thing.

Prime Minister Golda Meir made a phone call to President Nixon and in that same hour American tanks were loaded onto American aircraft, off loaded in Tel Aviv, and sent into battle with no time to even over paint the American stars. It was that close.

Israel continues to be the most powerful democracy in a region dominated by despots.

 2. We have historically depended upon the Middle East as a source of energy — and American companies have developed much of that energy.

We are just at the cusp of energy independence with one foot across the line.

[If we would develop a nuclear energy policy we would be totally and absolutely energy independent. Good God, are we this dense?]

 3. We have been drawn into a series of disastrous wars — all wars are disastrous — that have imposed a high cost in blood and treasure while we have combated terrorism.

 4. The Middle East has been a breeding ground for terror.

The United States has a strategic interest in the Middle East

Challenges to this strategic interest have been:

 1. The alliance with Israel whereby their travails are visited upon us. They are, essentially, an American state.

I say this not to be contentious, but to suggest their fate is important to us, as important as any state in our Union.

 2. Iran has been a pain in the world’s butt with its insane theocracy, its localized mischief, its dominance of the Straits of Hormuz, its funding of terror (Hamas, Hezbollah, Quds, Houthis), its fouling of Lebanon/Iraq/Gaza, its direct attacks on regional countries like Saudi Arabia, its support of the war in Yemen, its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, and its belligerent stance toward the US in general.

 3. We continue to have important energy interests in the Middle East and allies, such as Saudi Arabia, who are not overtly friendly toward Israel.

The US is forced to walk on both sides of that street.

The United Arab Emirates and Israel

Which brings us to the announcement that the United Arab Emirates and the state of Israel have established diplomatic relations and will exchange embassies in each other’s country, a tectonic shift of gargantuan importance.

 1. The United Arab Emirates is the financial center of the Middle East on a footing with New York City, London, Hong Kong, and Singapore (expect Singapore to rise as Hong Kong falls due to Chinese perfidy and oppression).

This is a very important consideration.

 2. The UAE has a decent to good army, albeit small. This move, likely, takes that army out of play as it relates to Israel (which has the best army in the region and, by the nature of things, must).

 3. The UAE is the adult in the room. They oppose Iran. They provide sober leadership to OPEC.

 4. It is one thing to have relations — Saudi Arabia has some form of relations with Israel — but it is something else completely to have full fledged diplomatic relations and to exchange embassies in each other’s country.

This means that the UAE will represent the interests of its citizens — which means their citizens will be allowed to travel to Israel — and the business interests of its firms. 

This also means that the tacit disapproval of an Israeli or a person with an Israeli visa stamp that showed they’d been in Israel will also stop.

This means these nations will open their borders to each other, conduct exchanges, and enter into commercial arrangements.

This is a normalization of things in the Middle East that has not happened since 1948 with the formation of Israel and the series of wars that followed.

This is what peace looks like. It is hard to recognize as we have not seen much of it in this region.

 5. This also means that the next countries who recognize Israel will have a much smoother time of it and that the norm in the region — the foundation of a peaceful Middle East — will be peace amongst nations.

[Jordan has had diplomatic relations with Israel since the 1994 Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (which ended the declared war between these nations that existed since 1948), but those relations have been tense and contentious.

To give you an idea of how the United States plays a role everything in the Middle East, one of the provisions of that agreement is that Jordan operates Qualified Industrial Zones which can export finished goods to the US duty free if the Jordanian factory uses a specified percentage of Israeli parts in the final assembly.]

 6. This also means that Iran is more isolated and that it now becomes a concern in Tehran that the UAE would not join a war effort versus Israel.

It stiffens the resolve that the money center banks in the UAE will not facilitate the funding of terror with Iranian funds — very subtle point.

This morning the Ayatollahs woke up and said, “This is not good.” The more Iran is isolated in the region and in the world, the better things will be. It heightens the probability that there will be regime change in Iran and eventually a re-admission to the company of civilized nations. Iran’s people are deserving of this.

How did this happen, Big Red Car?

It happened because President Donald J Trump launched several initiatives:

 1. The Israelis trust President Trump because he moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Not only did he fulfill a US promise made in 1995, not only did he make it happen in six months, but it put the issue of Jerusalem onto a different plane in which the reality of the US presence was baked into that cake. No longer was there a fear. There was reality.

A commenter points out that Pres Trump also recognized the Golan Heights, a contested border area between Syria and Israel, as being part of Israel, another big trust builder. Thanks to sigmaalgebra for the factoid.

 2. The Trump admin got the Israelis to make a concession as to the West Bank sought by Presidents for more than 40 years. This is why the UAE met the Israelis halfway — because of this Israeli concession drawn from the Israelis by our POTUS. 

I cannot stress enough that no other US President has been able to convince the Israelis to make this concession.

 3. Again, why did the Israelis do this? Because they trusted President Trump — a huge difference from the relationship and lack of trust with the prior administration.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car

This is the most significant development in the pursuit of Middle East peace since 1948. It is real.

The fact that President Trump announced this development and that it was not announced jointly by Israel and the United Arab Emirates tells us who had their hands on the steering wheel.

President Trump did this in the shadows — no huge public announcements, no bluster, no Camp David meetings. Just raw, naked competence and persistence. In the shadows, with small bridges being built, this American President got done something that could not get done by Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama — all of whom tried unsuccessfully.

Bravo, Mr. President. Well played.

Now, y’all can go back to throwing bricks and cutting up, but know this — this is huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge.