Middle Eastern enemies are hitting diplomacy

MeT was A A surprising choice for summer vacation. August 18, Tough Noon Binzaid, National Security Adviser, United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates), Appeared in Ankara to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two countries have been in conflict for years over the support of Prime Minister Erdogan to Islamist groups around the Middle East. Turkish authorities United Arab Emirates However, none of them were mentioned in the official post-meeting statement discussed on behalf of economic cooperation.

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A week later, Sheikh Tanoon met the chief of Qatar and has been Emirati’s top executive since visiting Qatar. United Arab Emirates And three other Arab countries imposed an embargo in 2017. Again, there were cheerful words about cooperation.Shake United Arab EmiratesThe most influential person in the world, the brother of Mohammed bin Zayed, the de facto ruler. His visit was a sign of a change in Emirati’s foreign policy. This is not the only course that changes countries.

There are two major obstacles in the Middle East today. Some have forced the Gulf states and Israel to fight Iran and its allies.The other is with countries such as Turkey and Qatar, which are sympathetic to Islamists, and with Egypt. United Arab Emirates,it’s not. These divisions fueled conflicts in Levant, Libya and Yemen, and fostered bloody conflicts elsewhere.

But for the past five months, many years of enemies have embarked on a diplomatic rush. Saudi Arabia and Iran began a dialogue in April. Turkey has sought to restore relations with Egypt that deteriorated after the Egyptian army overthrew a Muslim-led government in 2013 (Mr. Erdogan was a critic of the coup voice). Qatar and Egypt, who dropped out for the same reason, returned to talks. Egypt even allowed Al Jazeera, Qatar’s satellite television network, often in the position of parents and siblings, to reopen the Cairo bureau, which was closed after the coup.

Capstone was held in Baghdad on August 28, bringing together officials from Egypt, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. There was no concrete agreement, but the act of speaking was groundbreaking. Many participants had a hard time attending such meetings not long ago. Optimists hope that these meetings will signal the melting of a catastrophic controversy in the region and a possible end. The Middle East is a cruel place for optimists, but in this case their hopes may not be completely misguided.

The feud between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which has reshaped the region since 1979, has settled into a frozen conflict over the past four years. Partly due to Iran’s success and Saudi Arabia’s failure to exert influence abroad. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman made a series of foreign policy failures in the early days of power and has since shifted his focus to oil-bound economic transformation.

After pursuing its own aggressive foreign policy United Arab Emirates We are also beginning to seek detents. Officials in the capital Abu Dhabi say this is a side effect of covid-19. “It made us understand … we had to go home and let go of certain kinds of involvement in the wider Middle East,” says Diplomat Emirati.

It may sound introspective, but it’s after Justification: United Arab Emirates In 2019, a few months before the pandemic, he began withdrawing troops from Yemen. The war was swamped, but Emirati’s support for anti-Islamic warlords in Libya was defeated (mainly thanks to Turkish intervention). Activist foreign policy has brought little benefit. It is better to focus on economies that are more diversified than their neighbors but are not yet ready for the oncoming energy shift from oil. Authorities are busy announcing rafts for economic initiatives ahead of the country’s 50th anniversary in December.

Turkey has reached a similar conclusion. The economy has been hampered by 19% inflation, weak foreign investment, and a long currency crisis. Regional feuds, not to mention the conflict with the United States, EU And Greece are not helping. “The economy needs to reduce escalation,” says Garlip Dalley of Chatham House, a London think tank. I also need cash. Emirati investors may offer some. The devaluation of Lira means that foreigners can steal Turkey’s assets at bargain prices.

Turkey also wants to invest in normalization with Egypt. Despite their alienation, trade between the two countries reached nearly $ 5 billion last year. Turkish officials say that is much more likely. But repairing the fence with Egypt will also pay a political dividend.With Egypt EUThe United States and Israel supported Greece and Cyprus in a dispute with Turkey over drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Erdogan’s government is trying to negotiate because it believes the agreement with Egypt will help Egypt escape from its isolation.

This is all pretty U-turn around. But now there are few Islamists to support. Egyptian dictator Abdel Fatta Arsisi mercilessly dismantled the Brotherhood.Even in countries where Islamists are free to compete in politics, their popularity is decline..For Turkey and Qatar, the cost of ongoing conflict with Egypt United Arab Emirates Great, the advantage is slim.

The dispute with Iran is difficult to resolve. The Tehran administration does not negotiate the hard-earned influence in the Arab world. Instead, Gulf countries may only try to secure their backyard. After Donald Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” campaign disrupted Iran’s oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and supplied drones and missiles to launch a sudden attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities in 2019, they I was keenly aware of the vulnerability. For example, authorities are worried that properly placed salvos for missiles aimed at desalination plants could depopulate the bay within a few days.

So, in their own way, everyone participates in these discussions from the standpoint of some weakness. The Gulf countries are wealthy but fragile, while Iran and Turkey are muscular but broken. The Baghdad Summit ended with a joint statement pledged not to “interfere with the country’s internal affairs” because it is notorious for its participants’ interference. They are unlikely to stop. Therefore, regional diplomacy is of little comfort to citizens of places like Lebanon and Iraq, which rarely exist as sovereign states. These are discussions between dictators who are keen to protect their own grip on power and boost their economy: not the peace of our time, but only within our borders. ■■

This article was published in the printed Middle East and Africa section under the heading “Less Fights, More Jokes”.

Middle Eastern enemies are hitting diplomacy

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