In a recent blow to the Abraham Accords, Morocco postponed the second Negev Summit, citing Israel’s expansion of “settlements” in Judea and Samaria. Another signatory of the Accords, the UAE has publicly rebuked Israeli for conducting a recent counter-terrorism operation. These recent events bring into question the continued viability of the Accords, as the Gulf States continue to drift towards Iran, Iran and its proxies continue to grow in strength, and the much-awaited Saudi Arabia-Israel deal remains elusive.
Gulf States Drifting to Iran
Gulf countries appear to be shifting away from contemplating normalization with Israel and towards a détente with Iran. Iran’s foreign minister met with the president of the UAE, the first Arab signatory of the Abraham Accords, and the countries signed a tourism, trade and air transport deal. Additionally, Iran’s foreign minister wrapped up a three-day tour of the Gulf, visiting with Qatar’s foreign minister to discuss bilateral relations and Iran’s nuclear program, Oman’s foreign minister to discuss the truce in Yemen, and Kuwait’s foreign minister to discuss bilateral relations and “the latest regional and international developments,” according to Kuwaiti press. Qatar, Oman and Kuwait are all US allies that had been candidates to join the Abraham Accords.
One of Israel’s senior diplomats has expressed concern with Iran’s détente with Bahrain, as well as Bahrain’s decreased visits to Israel, in a recent visit to the Gulf country. Oman has again reiterated that Israel would need to make peace with the Palestinians before Oman could normalize ties with the Jewish State.
Iran Increasing Its Military Strength
Iran is also increasing its military strength. Hezbollah set up a military post meters into Israeli territory, comprised of at most 10 men, and held that position for weeks. UNIFIL confirmed the existence of the Hezbollah base after Israel filed a complaint with the UN Security Council. UNIFIL is tasked with keeping the peace at the Israel/Lebanon border. Hezbollah is currently thought to have 150,000 missiles pointed at Israel, plus hundreds or so of precision missiles.
Additionally, Iran is claiming that it has hypersonic missile technology, and is working to improve its range to 2,000 kilometers, which would enable it to strike Israel. US intelligence claims that Iran is building a drone factory in Tartarstan, Russia, to compliment the hundreds of drones that Iran has already sent Russia for its war in Ukraine. Iran has also been testing suicide drones in the Gulf of Oman, reportedly as practice for attacking merchant ships.
Iran attempted to attack Jews and Israelis in Cyprus, but failed thanks to Cypriot and Israeli intelligence. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, continues to greenlight Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s terrorism against Israel, by calling Judea and Samaria a “major battleground” in the Palestinian war against Israel.
Saudi Arabia-Israel Deal Remains Elusive
Meanwhile, a deal to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel continues to elude the Biden administration. Granted, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf stated that Saudi Arabia had conveyed to her that it was prepared to move towards normalization with Israel on her recent visit to the kingdom. As a sign of good faith, Israel will reportedly support Saudi Arabia’s application to host World Expo 2030.
But Saudi Arabia returned that favor with disinviting Israeli diplomats to an event in Paris hosted by the Saudi Crown Price in relation to the World Expo, possibly in protest to Israel’s counterterrorism activities in Judea and Samaria.
Additionally, a grand deal between the two continues to not materialize. Israel’s National Security Advisor stated that the long talked about, US-brokered deal to arrange Israeli-Arabs to make hajj flights to Saudi Arabia won’t happen this year, and said normalization generally is “a ways off.” “Several” American officials have assessed that the chances for Saudi-Israeli normalization are at less than 50 percent, and the US is apparently not willing to meet Saudi defense and nuclear guarantees that would be a prerequisite to a deal.
The Abraham Accords continue to stagnate, as Gulf States grow closer to Iran, Iran is becoming increasingly strong militarily, and a Saudi-Israel breakthrough does not seem in the cards in the foreseeable future. The Biden administration needs to re-orient Middle East policy back towards strengthening the Accords for there to be durable peace in the Middle East.
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The Guardian Removes Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” Amidst Viral Resurfacing
The Guardian, a left-wing media outlet, has taken down Osama bin Laden’s notorious “Letter to America” from its website this week after the words of the deceased terrorist mastermind, responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001, gained traction on social media.
The letter, which had been published on The Guardian’s website since 2002, resurfaced online, causing a sudden spike in traffic. Social media users unearthed and shared the anti-American and antisemitic content, propelling the document to viral status. The Guardian, acknowledging the increased circulation without the full context, opted to remove the transcript.
According to reports from Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for The Guardian stated, “The transcript published on our website 20 years ago has been widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore we have decided to take it down and direct readers to the news article that originally contextualized it instead.” The outlet declined to provide additional comments on the matter.
Osama bin Laden’s letter, translated into English, justified al-Qaeda’s attacks against the U.S. by citing American actions in Palestine. The deceased terrorist accused the U.S. of supporting the creation and continuation of Israel, labeling it one of the “greatest crimes” that must be erased. Bin Laden’s letter also propagated antisemitic tropes, claiming Jews control American policies, media, and the economy.
The 9/11 attacks, orchestrated by al-Qaeda, resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people and left thousands more injured. The letter’s resurgence occurred as it was shared by social media influencers on platforms like TikTok, with some expressing a change in perspective. Pro-Palestinian activist Lynette Adkins was among those who shared the letter online, prompting discussions and reflections.
The Guardian’s decision to remove the letter from its website underscores the sensitivity surrounding the content and its potential impact, particularly as young individuals across America engage with pro-Palestinian talking points. The episode has sparked debates about the influence of social media in reshaping perceptions and the responsibility of media outlets in disseminating controversial historical documents.
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