Sad Trombone: Iran, China Furious Over Peace Deal, US-Israeli Alliance

Posted: Aug 17, 2020 1:05 PM
Sad Trombone: Iran, China Furious Over Peace Deal, US-Israeli Alliance

Source: AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

We told you last week about Rep. Rashida Tlaib's angry response to a newly-announced peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, facilitated by the Trump administration, in which she gratuitously erased her fellow Muslims from the equation. Another American who lamented the peace accord was former Obama foreign policy whisperer Ben Rhodes, who -- to employ his boss' demagogic turn of phrase -- once again chose to "make common cause with" the regime in Tehran. And yes, the Iranians are blasting the peace deal because they thrive on regional chaos and instability, actively oppose meaningful peace, and loathe the notion of Arab states aligning themselves with the world's lone Jewish state as a means of countering their own malign influence in the area:

The United Arab Emirates has made a “huge mistake” in reaching a deal toward normalising ties with Israel, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday in a speech furiously condemning what he called a betrayal by the Gulf state.  The Iranian hardline daily Kayhan, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said “the UAE has turned itself into a legitimate target for the resistance”, according to its website. The UAE-Israel agreement announced on Thursday, which U.S. President Donald Trump helped to broker, is seen as aimed at bolstering opposition to regional power Iran.  In his televised speech, Rouhani warned the UAE against allowing Israel a “foothold in the region”. “They (the UAE) better be mindful. They have committed a huge mistake, a treacherous act. We hope they will realise this and abandon this wrong path.”

Israel already has more than "a foothold," of course, and its position is strengthening as Arab gulf states recognize that Tehran is the true shared enemy of other regional players. Reuters noted the muted reaction from other Sunni nations in the neighborhood, who quietly welcomed last week's historic development:

From cries of “betrayal” to fears about “falling dominoes”, the deal making the United Arab Emirates the third Arab state to forge ties with Israel stirred anger and dismay around the Middle East, but a cautious welcome from the UAE’s Gulf allies. The mixed response highlighted new fault lines in a region where fear and distrust of Iran - shared by Israel and some Arab states - has challenged a decades-old allegiance to the Palestinian issue as a major driver of Arab policy...The agreement, which is set to make the UAE only the third Arab state after Egypt and Jordan to make peace with Israel, calls for a temporary suspension of Israel’s planned annexation of occupied West Bank territory, but not withdrawal.

The piece relays furious reactions from the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism (Iran), a top terrorist organization (Hezbollah), and some Palestinians. Others were either silent or laudatory: "Oman and Bahrain praised the accord but Saudi Arabia, which has in the past led Arab policy towards Israel and hosts Islam’s two holiest sites, has remained silent, as have Kuwait and Qatar." Jared Kushner suggested last week that another Arab state could soon follow the UAE's lead (see update). Perhaps Ben Rhodes should start workshopping his denunciations of peace in advance of that potential outcome. He spent the weekend attacking the Trump administration, still stung by the anti-Iran peace deal, using European weakness vis-a-vis Tehran as his opportunity to vent. Senior administration officials did not hold back:

For those unfamiliar, Pompeo's tweet featured a gif of Rhodes experiencing something of a nervous breakdown on election night 2016. Meanwhile, the regime in Beijing is also unhappy with Israel's decision to freeze out the Chinese spy state from its 5G network:

This is historically illiterate. Chinese cities offered safe harbor to thousands of Jews during the Holocaust years before the bloody revolution that installed the current Communist Party rule (which has led to tens of millions of deaths). As others have noted, if anything, the gratitude and loyalty is owed to the government of Taiwan. I'll leave you with two reminders about China's preferences and actions:

UPDATE - Contagious peace?