UAE political analyst: How to achieve Saudi-Israel peace – opinion


The ongoing efforts by the US to establish normalized relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel have taken center stage in recent months across Middle Eastern media. Developments about this originate from both American and Israeli perspectives, while Saudi comments remain scarce. This aligns with Saudi diplomacy’s overarching approach – one of preserving secrecy and discretion until official document arrangements are finalized, akin to their handling of the Riyadh-Tehran rapprochement.

Saudi diplomacy stands out for its composed and sagacious demeanor, earning it profound respect and recognition on both regional and international platforms. This approach also affords substantial leeway and time to meticulously pursue well-defined objectives, far from the clamor of the media, which frequently turns into a pressure instrument on the fringes of any political undertaking.

President Joe Biden’s administration views the successful advancement of its initiative to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel as a notable accomplishment ahead of the 2024 presidential election campaign. On the other side, Israel regards Riyadh’s involvement in the peace process as a profound transformation in the Middle East’s geopolitical landscape – a characterization that holds true.

Nevertheless, indications suggest that the kingdom aims for a comprehensive reassessment of its strategic partnership with the US. This perspective is attributed to the shrewd leadership of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is orchestrating his nation’s international role with acumen, resulting in a series of accomplishments. In just a few years, he has adeptly repositioned Saudi Arabia on the map of global relations.

Saudi Arabia has emerged as a captivating focal point, attracting worldwide attention across economic, commercial, sporting, cultural, and investment domains. This transformation heralds favorable shifts in the longstanding perceptions of the country. The narrative surrounding Saudi Arabia is undergoing changes, gradually eroding negative perspectives and stereotypical portrayals often propagated by Western media.

US PRESIDENT Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attend the Gulf Cooperation Council +3 meeting in Jeddah, last summer. (credit: MANDEL NGAN/REUTERS)

The youthful Saudi leadership has effectively propelled the kingdom into a position of influence within international relations. They have orchestrated domestic developmental feats that, by conventional estimations, might have spanned decades. This accomplishment elicits admiration and acclaim from global hubs of decision-making, compelling a universal recognition of the enterprising developmental endeavor spearheaded by the young crown prince.

His composed and assured leadership approach astonishes all those who observe and follow Saudi affairs.

Regarding peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel, it becomes evident that this subject is closely intertwined with the new Saudi perspective. However, it hinges upon intricate strategic calculations by Saudi authorities. Saudi Arabia occupies a distinctive stance on both spiritual and strategic levels.

Furthermore, its association with the US necessitates fresh insights and accords that harmonize with the contemporary reality characterizing the relationship between these longstanding allies. This is precisely why The Washington Post noted that the Saudi crown prince is engaging in challenging negotiations with American mediators regarding the normalization of ties with Israel.

Saudi Arabia is looking to the future

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a foundational transformation. Yet, this transformation is not centered solely on normalizing relations with Israel, fostering improved ties with neighboring Iran, or pursuing any similar endeavors.

Instead, this transformation is fundamentally directed toward shaping a future for the kingdom’s upcoming generations. Its objective is to forge a Saudi Arabia that resonates with the aspirations of its youth and general population, positioning it in a manner that befits a regional powerhouse, encompassing the entirety of both robust and subtle influence.

This strategic endeavor guarantees that Saudi Arabia possesses the capacity to exert its impact on the global stage, in a way that advances its interests and safeguards it against becoming ensnared in conflicts or crises that might obstruct its resolutely ambitious developmental path.

Therefore, the normalization with Israel and the pursuit of reconciliation with Iran is aimed at fortifying security, peace, and harmonious coexistence in a region that has long grappled with instability. This role falls squarely within the purview of Saudi Arabia, a vanguard of the Islamic world.

It upholds moral obligations and spiritual connections with nearly two billion Muslims. In this sense, it assumes the role of a peacemaker and a conduit for bridging divides between civilizations and cultures.

Hence, the eventual establishment of peaceful relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia seems deeply intrinsic. Such a development stands apart from notions of “American pressure” that Riyadh has demonstrated it no longer adheres to when such pressures run counter to its interests.

The potential alignment between Israel and the kingdom, as previously articulated by the Saudi crown prince, does not come as a surprise. He has also affirmed that his country does not perceive Israel as an adversary. It is important to recall that Riyadh put forth an ambitious peace proposal back in 2002, underscoring that Saudi Arabia harbors no inherent reservations or animosity toward Israel. Instead, it operates guided by its central role within both the Arab and Islamic spheres.

It seeks to devise a viable framework that caters to the collective interests and guarantees real stability. Furthermore, Riyadh perceives the current juncture in history as an opportune moment to recalibrate, redefine, and fortify its alliance with Washington, aligning it with the prevailing strategic landscape.

Saudi Arabia is operating within an ambitious and promising strategic vision for the year 2030. This vision hinges on a stable and propitious regional climate, essential for fostering investment and advancement. It has emerged as a pivotal driving force in Saudi foreign policy.

It is universally recognized that Israel’s participation in the recent sequence of regional reconciliations holds the potential to unveil an alternative geopolitical map, contrasting the landscape of prior regional conflicts. Nevertheless, a candid perspective mandates acknowledging that Israel must cultivate a suitable strategic environment that incentivizes the kingdom and other stakeholders to engage in the peace process.

The writer is a United Arab Emirates political analyst and former Federal National Council candidate.

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