KUALA LUMPUR: Saudi Arabia is closely watching the Israeli opening of an Embassy in the United Arab Emirates.
Arab News, the unofficial mouthpiece of the government, has the event on its front page. The Saudi’s has nothing negative to say about the visit of top Israeli diplomat Yair Lapid to the UAE.
Saudi Arabia is confirming reports it supports the Israeli push in the United Arab Emirates.
Lapid’s opening of the Jewish state’s first embassy in the Gulf on Tuesday comes nine months after they signed a normalisation deal.
He met with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi. Later he tweeted a picture of the two of them shaking hands shortly after the opening of the embassy.
Abdullah, who is the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation hopes relations between the two nations will flourish.
The aim is to achieve peace and to strengthen regional security and stability. However, critics of the deal say it will only bring more trouble to the region. It is yet to materialise, though.
Nevertheless, this is a big success for the Israelis. Winning hearts and minds in the Arab world after decades of animosity is a feat. We cannot deny that.
Whether it is facilitated by the United States push to get the Arab world to accept Israel or by the rise of Iran as a regional superpower, it is done.
For Israeli analyst, LAHAV HARKOV, Lapid’s visit to the UAE is a diplomatic gesture that has meaning and is consequential.
He notes the visit was heavy on pomp and circumstance and symbolism.
Israel and the UAE established diplomatic relations in August thanks to the Abraham Accords, backed by former US President Donald Trump.
While the Emirati officials rolled out the red carpet in all pomp to show they mean business, Israel did not let them down.
“What we are doing here today is not the end of the road; it’s the beginning,” Lapid made it clear during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
It is of great relief to the Saudis that Israel and the UAE are deep in their relationship. It would not be possible without the Saudi’s approving. For Riyadh, the deal is about stopping Iran’s march in the region. With it comes the benefits of business dealings with the Jewish state via the UAE.
Iran is a pain in the neck of the Saudis. It is helping the Houtis rebels in Yemen, supporting missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and it has captured Iraq.
Baghdad used to be a formidable frontier for the Saudis against Shia-led remnants of the former Persian empire. But with the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia lost control of the Iraqi geopolitical switch.
They literally handed Iraq to the Iranians. This has strengthened Iran’s regional presence.
But will the Israeli deal with the UAE ‘really’ help to curb Iran’s influence in the Gulf?
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