Yesterday, the Telegraph reported the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates waxing lyrical over the new strategic and economic alliance with Britain embodied in the Abu Dhabi Declaration signed in the presence of HM the Queen. The previous day, the Telegraph spelled out the true price of this new agreement:
Whitehall officials said Foreign Secretary William Hague's decision to reach out to Gulf states in an effort to secure better diplomatic and trade ties meant Britain had to ‘take on board’ Arab foreign policy goals. Requesting better ties would be a two-way street, not just plea for more defence contracts and exports, they said. ‘It will be a six lane highway with movement in both directions,’ said one diplomat. ‘We have to respond to what Gulf States want. If we want a long-term partnership on foreign policy, then changes in our stance have to be part of it.’
... Officials in both Abu Dhabi and London make no bones about stressing the significance of the defence relationship as the West and its regional allies gear up to a possible confrontation with Iran. That may mean yet further withdrawal of traditional British support for Israel, with criticism of its government already more marked under Mr Hague than it was under New Labour government.
In another indication of the Foreign Office's new sensitivity to Arab opinion, officials admitted to The Daily Telegraph that policies on the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006, Israel's invasion of Gaza in 2008-9, and its occupation of the West Bank and settlements policy were ‘motivators’ for the Islamic radicalism that they confronted daily in the Gulf.
Where to begin? Yes, realpolitik demands that sometimes ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. Yes, the overriding enemy at this time is Iran, threatening not just Israel and the west but also the Gulf states. Yes, the Gulf is vital to western oil supplies. But sometimes my enemy’s enemy is still my enemy. The UAE and other Gulf states are only relatively moderate in their Islamic attitudes compared to, say, Saudi Arabia (and note that admission of 'Islamic radicalism in the Gulf'). Furthermore, because they can see that the US under Obama is caving into Iran, they are doing what Arab states always do – backing the stronger horse in the region, as explained here:
The UAE and Qatar were quick to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his re-election victory, and Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said traveled to Iran in August. Qatar's emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani discussed ways to expand economic cooperation with Iran with Tehran's ambassador to Qatar on August 27, 2009, the day after Iran's envoy to Bahrain called on the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council states to stop ‘employing foreign forces.’ The New York Times reported in May that Oman and the UAE increasingly rely on ‘mutual interest’ trade with Iran, which is ‘an important political and economic ally that is too powerful and too potentially dangerous to ignore, let alone antagonize.’ Iran's talk of ‘indigenizing ‘regional security shows signs of appealing, especially in Qatar. In Bahrain, too, an eagerness to bow to growing Iranian power has taken the shape of bilateral energy agreements.
So, ostensibly to forge regional alliances against Iran, Britain has now locked itself into a strategic alliance with states which are forging alliances with Iran. Brilliant. And in order to achieve this, Britain is now turning against Israel -- the one state which really is the west’s one true defender in the region -- and falling into line instead behind its enemies.
Really, Britain is displaying the geopolitical equivalent of an auto-immune disease – attacking its friends while embracing its destroyers. One could say that it was ever thus; with the rare exception of Christian Zionist leaders such as Arthur Balfour, Britain has always sided with the Arabs believing that its national interest has always lain with them rather than with the Jews. What’s so unforgiveable is that this is now happening against the backdrop of a global campaign to delegitimise Israel in order to soften up the world for its destruction. In other words, it’s the 1930s all over again; for Britain, history is being repeated not as farce but as tragedy.
For sure, there’s another side to this: Britain and Israel remain close allies in the intelligence sphere. But Israel should surely now regard Britain rather as it presumably regards Saudi Arabia – as a hostile entity with which it sometimes has to do business.
This is a nightmare for British Jews.Short URL:
My enemy's enemy...
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2010 @ 15:34:28 EST in Cognation