by Nasser Kandil
There is no doubt that the Emirates’ and Bahrain’s course towards agreements and understandings which include normalization and security cooperation with the Occupation, and the possibility of Oman following the identical course, could not have occurred without Saudi consent. Its certainty can be deduced from Saudi Arabia opening her skies to the Occupation’s flights, consistent assertion in the Occupation’s press about the wide scope of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the joint cooperation between the latter with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates in the war against Yemen, and the astonishing religious “Fatwa” by the Imam of Holy Mecca legitimizing the Israeli Settlers’ rape of Palestinian land in his discourse about alleged historical rights, which coincides with the Zionist myth of the promised land. Additional confirmation comes from US President Trump’s statement following talks with King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz that Saudi Arabia will be soon joining the caravan of normalization, re-stated by him in the normalization signing ceremony, and which Saudi Arabia did not deny.
What is also certain is the dilemma felt by these governments in their justification of the normalization course they have taken. One manifestation of this sense of dilemma is a claim about anticipated gains from normalization by the cancellation of procedures to annex the West Bank, denied by the Occupation’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. Another manifestation are the successive reports that the normalization includes understandings associated with American and Israeli commitments to a resolution of the Palestinian cause on the basis of a two-state solution which has been undermined from its roots but the Deal of the Century. A third manifestation is the low level of representation in the signing ceremony, and the marked absence of the Bahraini King and the Emirati Crown Prince, the presence of whom would have been required by the presence of the American President and the Israeli Prime Minister.
The Israelization of the Gulf to compensate for the Occupation’s failure to make changes in the balance of power and rules of engagement on the Southern-Lebanon, Palestine, and Syrian fronts is beyond doubt. Also beyond doubt are the American and Israeli gains, one of which is parading victory, a tactic needed by both Trump and Netanyahu in their election campaigns. Their other gain is a strategic positioning on the Gulf shores right across from Iran. In between, Israel bets on economic gains resulting from the rise in importance of the Port of Haifa, taking advantage of Beirut Port’s absence from the map, and making the timing of the Beirut Port explosion highly suspicious, considering the connection. This raises two synonymous questions: Do these gains imply a change in balances, and what are the gains for the governments of the normalizing Gulf States especially in view of the ravaging internal problems in Israel and the US which are defining priorities and changing voters’ perspectives, and which a parade like the one recently seen in Washington is unlikely to influence.
What is clear from this Gulf Israelization and normalization course is the emergence of an opposite course opening the gate for a Palestinian security and political dynamic, with unity as its initial headline, heading towards a sweeping Intifada, which experience has shown to unilaterally reshape Arab popular and political scenes, in a disregarding defiance towards their governments. What is also evident is a parallel opening in a gateway for changes in the security of the Gulf, most prominent of which is Iran withdrawing its mediation with Ansar Allah to
shield the Emirates from being targeted due to the latter’s participation in the war on Yemen, suggesting upcoming painful strikes on the Emirates, which the Yemenis refer to as cities of glass.
When considering ruling balances in the region, historical experience says that American and Israeli power is defined by two fixed elements, the first of which is capacity to wage wars. No one is under the illusion that the joining of Bahrain and the Emirates will add strength to a front which was tested at the height of strength in the alliance between the Gulf, NATO including Turkey and the US, and Israel in the war against Syria, and reaped failure and disintegration. The second element is the ability to isolate Arab populations from the idea of resistance by reinforcing the concept of negotiations and settlement and offering related opportunities through the Palestinian gateway. This is based on the decision makers in Washington realizing from history that keeping the people in the area and the Palestinians under the umbrella of the illusion of settlement reachable by negotiation is the biggest service they can render the Occupation.
A shift from that position by dropping opportunities for negotiation and closing the doors on settlement, places the peoples of the area, headed by Palestinians, on the road to uniting behind Al Mukawama, and creates a more difficult situation for the Occupation. It is unthinkable for Washington to have shifted from its former course unless it believes that the Occupation has lost all ability for movement, and the responsibility for its protection has to be in Washington’s custody, and that walls around Israel have to be extended to ensure its security in the face of
Al Mukawama Axis, similar to the racial segregation wall in Palestine, and the protective walls sought in a confrontation in South Lebanon, Gaza, and the Golan Heights, to walls in the Gulf which is being transformed into a defense line in any future confrontation threatening the Occupation’s security.
A close examination of Gulf interests clearly reveals the weakness in arguments she raises in defense of her normalization, or under the pretext of the dictates of her national interests. By taking the path of normalization, the Gulf has become exposed to threats rather than being protected from them. Gulf security is jeopardized. Gulf economic interests have come under the threat by companies and banks owned by Jewish lobbies, with all their capabilities, aspirations, and greed, who have headquarters now in Dubai and Manama, to overcome their hesitation and move their headquarters to the Israel. The Port of Haifa will take precedence and cancel Jebal Ali Port from the ports-of- call list of European shipping. The current internal cohesion in the Gulf will be shaken by the Israeli positioning there and its characteristic tampering influence. Iran has adopted a calming stance towards the Gulf prior to her Israelization. After Israelization, and in the shadow of talk about a Gulf-American-Israeli military and security alliance against Iran will grant Iran a front line a stone throw away from American and Israeli interests with full legitimacy. The Gulf-Israelization evokes a popular Arab saying which brings to mind the image of a chicken scratching in the dirt and heaping it on its head.