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The Middle East Report

Sameera Casmod |
04 August 2023 | 09:00am SAST
1 min read

Picture: NYU Abu Dhabi

This week’s Middle East Report focused on Iran-US relations, Arab-Israeli relations and Israel’s technology investments.

Geopolitical expert James M. Dorsey highlighted the challenges faced in reducing hostility between the United States and Iran. Efforts to revive the international nuclear agreement have so far failed, complicating talks mediated by Oman and designed to lower tensions between the two nations.

Adding to the complexity, Iran’s recent arrest of a fourth American national has thrown the negotiations into uncertainty, further impacting regional tensions. The discussions, which were facilitated by Qatar and Oman and aimed at a possible prisoner swap, now face new obstacles that require delicate handling to prevent escalation.

The discussion then turned to the American effort for Saudi recognition of Israel, which has soured Arab public sentiment on relations with Israel. Countries like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which established diplomatic ties with Israel in 2020, are experiencing dwindling public buy-in for these agreements. According to recent polling figures, endorsement of relations with Israel has dropped significantly, indicating growing dissatisfaction with Israel’s hard-line policies and heightened tensions between Israeli security forces and Palestinians.

Interestingly, the UAE, often referred to as the Middle East’s “Teflon state,” seems to defy repercussions for its actions. Despite facing international criticism and being on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force for anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism finance efforts, the UAE has managed to maintain its reputation. Recent disclosures of intelligence firms hired to damage the reputations of Europeans and the UAE’s withdrawal from Gulf security arrangements have seemingly had little impact on their standing. The country’s adept image and branding strategies appear to shield it from adverse consequences.

In Israel, the ongoing political crisis resulting from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to push through judicial reforms has caused significant concern over technology investments. Israel, a global technology leader, is experiencing a decline in foreign investments, with companies moving their headquarters elsewhere due to the uncertainty surrounding the proposed reforms. The United States, an important partner for Israel, is worried that the country’s technological edge could be at risk, potentially impacting Israel’s military superiority.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat here.


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