I said, about a month ago, that “I am no fan of Donald J Trump, but to the extent that he had anything at all to do with [the recent Middle east peace deals involving Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates] … [then] … he deserves the world’s thanks and credit for being a peace-broker.“
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Shuvaloy Majumdar, who is a Munk Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and was the policy director to successive Canadian foreign ministers from 2011 to 2015, suggest, in an article published in the Toronto Sun, that “The Abraham Accords [my hyperlink added] are truly transformative and will pave the way for historic realignments across the Middle East. Yet one of the most interesting aspects of this development is not what has been achieved, but how it has been achieved … [because] … We were told that moving embassies to Jerusalem would lead to irreparable diplomatic strife. That accepting Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights would raise the spectre of violence. That ending the Iranian nuclear deal and eliminating its terror chief would provoke regional war. That standing behind Arab allies confronting Iranian proxies in Yemen and elsewhere would inflame conflict. That dispensing with Palestinian obstruction as a condition for Arab-Israeli relations would forever damage the prospect of peace.” These things, they say, “have been axioms of Western diplomacy. And they were all proven wrong.“
“Instead,” Messers Harper and Majumdar write, “the Trump administration framed events in a new paradigm, culminating with a treaty ceremony on the lawn of the White House …
… the first Arab-Israeli accords in a quarter century, and the promise of more to come. The outlines of the new framework are clear enough: pursuing peace through strength, supporting Israel unequivocally, backing the region’s moderates and opposing its extremists … [thus] … this breakthrough was achieved by breaking with doctrines that had produced no results for decades.” They suggest, and I agree that “While critics may never give the administration the credit it deserves, let us insist that they at least absorb these lessons.”
One of the lessons which the authors bring out is that the Arab states are, in effect, throwing the Palestinians under the bus because “they share with Israel … [an appreciation of the existential threat of] … Tehran’s hegemonic nationalism and clerical extremism.” ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend‘ as an old proverb would have it.
I have explained before that the strategic situation in the Middle East almost defies rational analysis. There are four ‘powers’ contending for leadership, each with a different historic basis for its ambitions. Right now, Iran is the greatest threat to the Sunni Arabs and Israel is the greatest military power in the region and, most likely, the only one with clear, comprehensible motives.
Former Prime Minister Harper and Mr Majumdar conclude by saying that “In a world defined today by disruption and disarray, the Abraham Accords signify an historic moment of cooperation and realignment. They are a statement of unity in a time of division and a reminder that leadership still matters. For, at their core, these agreements were delivered by leaders who saw an opportunity and had the convictions and skills to make it happen … [and] … The consequences of this normalization will be profound. The new security architecture between Israel and its Arab allies will become deeper, bolder, and visible. A new economic collaboration will take hold, spanning a spectrum of technologies and infrastructure, from the seas to space. And perhaps most importantly, new and enduring relationships will be formed between young populations on the terms of peace, pluralism and progress.” At least, that’s what we all must hope.
I still have no idea how much President Donald Trump had to do with this … it doesn’t matter, really, it happened on his watch; it’s a good thing (not for the Iranians, the Palestinians or the Turks) and he should get credit for it, as did Jimmy Carter for the Camp David accords in 1978.