The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is gradually obtaining support in its endeavours to normalise relations with Israel, with economic and security interests alleged to be behind the rapprochement.
The UAE has been in the process of normalising its relations with Israel for several years, and Abu Dhabi’s allies are now following their sponsor.The Southern Transitional Council (STC), the Yemeni secessionist movement sponsored by the UAE, has recently shown a willingness to establish relations with Israel, with which it is currently in secret talks. The same has been said for Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army, who is seeking new support after successive setbacks against Fayez Al-Sarraj’s Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
The communication between Haftar and Tel-Aviv has been ongoing for two years, as Intelligence Online has previously reported. Palestinians close to Mohammed Dahlan, the chief security adviser to Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, are also committed to normalising relations with Israel.These understandings come as Abu Dhabi has been publicising its ties with Israel in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Highly unusually, planes from the Emirati airline Etihad’s fleet landed on the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport on 20 May and 9 June, loaded with humanitarian aid for the West Bank. However the Palestinian Authority (PA) refused the medical aid, claiming it had not been party to coordination on the delivery, which was conducted exclusively with Israel.Behind this display, Abu Dhabi is looking to take advantage of the tacit recognition of Israel to secure new cybersecurity contracts, just as the agreement on 20 June was aimed at facilitating joint research in the context of the current epidemic.
Previous contracts concluded in 2019 are understood to have totalled more than $4 billion. The normalisation also has more conventional security motivations, with Israel and the UAE hoping to jointly form a bloc against Iran.