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Why should we be celebrating a year of Abraham Accords?

Blinken is commemorating Israel 'normalization' tomorrow but these agreements are about conflict with Iran, not regional peace.

Analysis | Middle East

A year into the Abraham Accords, it is clear that the agreement has only delivered arms sales, but no peace.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to deteriorate, de facto annexation of Palestinian territory proceeds all the while the U.S. embrace of the agreement signals American endorsement of this negative status quo. Rather than advancing American interests by promoting peace in the region, the U.S. is helping cement conflict under the guise of forging reconciliation between three countries that never have been at war. 

Yet things can get even worse. At a time when the U.S. should be reducing its military footprint in the region, the accord could bring America back into war in the Middle East by lowering the bar for Israeli military action against Iran. Any military confrontation between Israel and Iran will likely suck in the U.S. as well. As the Quincy Institute's Steven Simon wrote in his June brief on the subject, the risk of the accord playing this destabilizing role is particularly acute if talks to revive the Iran nuclear agreement collapse. 

Moreover, the accord undermines prospects of finding true peace in the region between Israelis and Palestinians. Recognition of Israel was always a means to an end — not an end in and of itself. The accord flipped this on its head and offered recognition without any movement on the Israeli-Palestinian front, further reducing Israel's incentives to compromise with the Palestinians. Not surprisingly, all the countries who have signed onto the accord have either done this under duress or due to American — not Israeli — concessions on other matters.

Sudan was coerced into signing on lest it wouldn't get off the U.S. terror list. Morocco was offered a major shift on the U.S. position on West Sahara. The UAE was offered F35 fighter jets — advanced American weaponry the Emiratis want in order to bind Washington to the security of their authoritarian state. None of these trade-offs do anything to bring peace to the Middle East, nor do they, in the final analysis, advance U.S. national security.

Washington DC, USA - September 15, 2020: Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, and Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan attend the Abraham Accords ceremony in The White House. (noamgalai/shutterstock)
Analysis | Middle East
Diplomacy Watch: Ukraine risks losing the war — and the peace

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QiOSK

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House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Adam Smith (Photo: VDB Photos / Shutterstock.com)
House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Adam Smith (Photo: VDB Photos / Shutterstock.com)

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Smith, the ranking member on the committee, was following up on questions from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla) to Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, on whether the administration considered the repatriation of Crimea and the Donbas as necessary for a Ukrainian victory.

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Japan debuts as a weapons exporter

Asia-Pacific

Japan has gone through a gradual process of dismantling its self-imposed ban on exporting lethal weapons, a process that reached a new plateau with last month’s decision to permit the export to third countries of the next-generation fighter aircraft to be developed jointly with the United Kingdom and Italy.

When this policy change is read in conjunction with the U.S.-Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement issued on April 10, 2024, it is likely that Japan has agreed to jointly develop and produce missiles with the United States and export them to third countries. (It also marks the latest development in its departure from its pacifist defense policy that dates back to the immediate post-World War II era.) This article tries to explain the background and implications of Japan’s policy changes.

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