The tripartite summit between Israel, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates in Sharm El-Sheikh will feature three-way talks between the parties on Tuesday after separate meetings on Monday.
Arab sources reported that the talks are dealing with a range of regional and international issues, with a focus on the Iranian threat, ahead of what appears to be the signing of a new US-led nuclear deal, against the positions of the Gulf States.
The talks are also intended to coordinate positions ahead of the removal of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) from the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), which is of interest to Israel and the Emirates, who have recently suffered a number of attacks by the Houthis from Yemen.
The newspaper Al-Arabi Al-Jadid reported Tuesday that the talks also dealt with mediation efforts on the part of Israel and Egypt between the US and Saudi Arabia against the background of the crisis in their relations.
Tensions between Saudi Arabia and the US have risen sharply in the wake of Saudi criticism of the lack of US support in the face of Houthi attacks, and Saudi Arabia’s refusal of the US request to increase oil production. The visit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the Emirates a few days ago also drew criticism and disappointment from the Americans.
Arab sources also reported that the talks also dealt with the consequences of the war in Ukraine on the wheat and oil economy in the Middle East.
A source in the Gulf told TPS Tuesday that “the tripartite summit is part of a cross-border and large-scale effort designed to bring about the formation of a Sunni Arab axis led by the Gulf states and with an Israeli partnership to face the Iranian Persian axis and its proxies.”
He said that “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates divided between them the most important missions designed to support national security in the Gulf, including the issue of Syria’s return to the Arab world, the situation in Iraq, the consequences of the war in Ukraine, issues concerning African countries and more. Above all, however, they are working on issues of national security in the Gulf in light of the likelihood of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.”
The source added that the UAE is “actually serving as a representative of the Saudi position and they are bringing it to the meeting tables with senior Israeli officials.”
Referring to the tensions between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the US, he said that “the US is deeply disappointed and concerned that the current contacts within the Gulf, and between the Arab states and Israel, are taking place without prior consultations with the US.”
“Since the Abraham Accords were signed at the end of the Trump era, Biden’s US has lost its centrality in the agreements and is not the address, and therefore is not required to give its blessing to a series of decisions and steps,” he noted.
The source added that “it is not the Iranian case alone that drives the Gulf-Israel relationship, but mainly the desire to establish an entire strategic space with the participation of the Gulf States and Israel. We understand that Iran can be weakened politically and economically by establishing an axis of developed Sunni Arab states with significant technological and economic capabilities.”
“It also adds to your understanding that large sections of the young people in Iran are very far from the ideological conception of the [Islamic] revolution,” he said. “However, until the changes in Iran mature, we must work to establish another axis, Arab, Gulf, and Israeli.”
Referring to the US disappointment from Assad’s meeting with UAE ruler Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, he said that the effort to bring Syria back into the Arab world despite American opposition is likely to continue.
“Stability in Syria is a prominent Arab interest, so the Emirates are working to pull it from Iran’s arms and return it to the moderate axis,” he said. “This is also understandable to Israel because Jordan’s security is also affected by stability in Syria and Israel shows understanding for the Gulf States’ efforts in the Syrian issue, despite American opposition to legitimizing Bashar Assad’s regime.”
The source said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are engaged in a series of sensitive matters and sometimes make decisions contrary to the American position.
“The Americans need to understand that we are not a star on the American flag and we have separate and different regional priorities. We recognize the importance of the alliance with the United States but this alliance does not mean we are a protectorate. The Gulf has a different system of interests,” he underscored.
“The United States sees the Gulf as a secluded island but the Gulf States understand that their national security lies in the establishment of a large and complete Sunni Arab area, of which Israel is a part,” he concluded.