On Thursday the New York Times ran yet another report about Saudi Arabia’s entry into an “Abraham Accord,” but if only certain conditions could be met. It quoted longtime Israel lobby heavyweight Martin Indyk and reported on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s think tank the Washington Institute for Near East Policy “expert” delegation’s visit to Riyadh to finalize a deal. Then on Friday explosive news broke that China had successfully concluded a secret peace agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The plan aims to restore diplomatic relations by reopening embassies within two months. They also agree to restart their April 2001 Security Cooperation. Also back on the front burner is a 1998 General Agreement covering economic, trade, investment, technology, science, culture, sports and youth ties. It is well worth reading the entire statement.
As it often does, the New York Times quickly updated its March 9 story in an attempt not to look foolish having given too much credence to Israel lobby guidance.
Israel and its lobby have for decades attempted to steer the United States into attacking Iran. The neocon policy coup of 2001 was not only a plan to get the U.S. to attack Israel’s arch enemy Iraq, it was also designed to steer the US into attacking seven countries in seven years, most prominently Iran.
When the US invasion of Iraq quickly turned into a quagmire, two American Israel Public Affairs Committee executives tried to place stolen classified Department of Defense information incriminating to Iran into circulation at the Washington Post. The operation failed, the Pentagon colonel leaking classified information was prosecuted, while the longtime AIPAC officials were dismissed.
Israel’s foreign influence operation AIPAC has steadily lobbied against Iran on behalf of Israel including punishing economic warfare from the US Treasury’s OTFI unit, which AIPAC lobbied to set up for just this purpose in the aftermath of 9/11.
The Trump era “Abraham Accords” were yet another attempt to isolate Iran while harnessing Arab countries to Israel’s undue foreign influence and war on Iran machine. Under the scheme, the US sacrifices its remaining international reputation to compel Arab governments to sign diplomatic and commercial accords with Israel their populations overwhelmingly reject. Target governments get access to advanced US weapons, or recognition of illegal land grabs in exchange for normalization.
Saudi Arabia was always the toughest prospect for sticking its head into the yoke of an Abraham Accord. The Saudi Initiative, or Arab Peace Initiative endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, re-endorsed in 2007 and 2017 was a legitimate path toward a somewhat just settlement through the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in exchange for Arab normalization.
Under constant Israel lobby pressure, there was never any serious U.S. consideration of the Saudi led plan. Instead, Israel surrogates Jared Kushner and former real estate lawyer turned ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman among others pushed the so-called “Deal of the Century” that offered tenuous promises of economic development to Palestinians in exchange for relinquishing their rights under international law. A 2019 IRmep poll revealed that 68 percent of Americans would have rejected a similar deal if they were in Palestinians’ shoes, and the deal collapsed.
The Abraham Accords then attempted to “transcend” the Palestine question by making Palestinian claims under international law and the Arab Peace Plan irrelevant.
The new Joint Trilateral Statement signals a rejection of the Abraham Accords and yoking Saudi Arabia to Israel and its lobby’s foreign policy intrigues and domestic meddling. Saudi Arabia may not want to become as subject to Israeli prerogatives as America and has obviously been learning how to avoid it. Saudi Arabia skillfully cushioned the bad news by end-running AIPAC and placated the American military industrial congressional complex by simultaneously agreeing to purchase $35 billion in Boeing passenger jets. That is nearly the same amount as military aid the US agreed to give to Israel gratis over ten years under the Obama administration.
Israel and its lobby will not take this bad news lying down and still have many levers to pull in the region, establishment US media, Congress, the State Department, and the White House. But for now, the Saudi rejection of the Abraham Accords could signal the way out for UAE, squeezed by Israel and AIPAC to invest in sketchy Israeli schemes such as “Project Jonah,” and get into a war footing with Iran. UAE may be inspired and try to disentangle themselves from the Israeli undue influence and Palestine justice minimization machine.
Grant F. Smith is the director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington and the author of the 2019 book, The Israel Lobby Enters State Government: Rise of the Virginia Israel Advisory Board, available in paperback and audio book.