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Middle East Report with James Dorsey

2 min read
19 September 2022


Radio Islam International discusses current and relevant Middle East issues with James Dorsey, journalist and political analyst.

According to Dorsey, the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Israel this week to mark the second anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. Yet, one part of the deal, the sale of the F35 planes, the most advanced private jet still on hold, was symbolic, particularly given that Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan laid a wreath at the holocaust memorial in recognition of the holocaust of World War II.

This is symbolic and important to the Israelis and the Jewish community worldwide.

He stated that the deal is on hold primarily for two reasons. One is that the United States is trying to use the sale as leverage to bind the UAE to a US digital world rather than a Chinese digital world, closing the issues of 5G to 6G mobile communication.

And the second one is that they want to ensure that the UE continues to build its military capability based on Western, particularly American, French or British weapons, which the UAE has been reluctant to guarantee until now.

Dorsey said that since July, Saudi Arabia had seen an increase in extreme sentences handed down to people who are viewed as the censor. An example was the sentencing of two tribesmen to 50 years in prison for protesting against the confiscation of land to make way for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s $500 million NEOM science fiction city,

“We have seen two women in the recent months being sentenced to 34 years and 45 years in prison for a tweet, and now two tribesmen have been sentenced to 50 years for protesting against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman NEOM science fiction,” he said.

He added that the tribe members were protesting the building of the futuristic city, as a tribe was being displaced and would be compensated with just $3000.

Regarding Egypt and Saudi Arabia becoming Dialogue Partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Dorsey said in a meeting that was opened on Thursday and set to continue on Friday that Iran was accepted as a member which fortifies its relations with Russia and China.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt were accepted as “dialogue in partners”. This is important in terms of relationships between the Gulf state and China-Russia.

The SCO is a forum in many ways rather than an institutionalised organisation comparable to other regional organisations founded in the 1990s with China, Russia, India, and Pakistan. Dorsey says it still has a long way to go to become an organisation.

And finally, according to Dorsey, no one wants to decide on the nuclear deal with Iran before the 1 November elections in Israel. The question is whether former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will return to power. The US Midterm will determine to what degree the Democratic Party will maintain the majority in the House of Representatives.

The feeling at present is that the democrats may well retain control of the senate but not control of the house.

[LISTEN] to the podcast here.


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