Although receiving miniscule media coverage, Thursday’s announcement that Israel had deployed military infrastructure to the UAE and Bahrain in the shape of radar systems, ostensibly to counter an alleged missile threat from nearby Iran, should be a cause for concern amongst onlookers. Coming in the same 24 hour period in which Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett paid a surprise visit to the Emirates, and in which Israeli Forces bombed Damascus International Airport, the announcement that both Abu Dhabi and Manama had agreed to host Israeli military infrastructure should be seen as the first step towards current tensions between Tel Aviv and Tehran being placed on a possibly irreversible path towards conflict in the region.
United Arab Emirates
The “historic” agreement for normalization of ties between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is being presented as a noble effort by the Gulf Arab states to fend off further annexation of Palestinian land. That facade was quickly eroded when Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu said his annexation plans were only “on hold” and not derailed, as the UAE had claimed in announcing the purported accord mediated this week by the Trump administration. The terse Palestinian reaction to the supposed deal got it right. It was “a stab in the back.” Iran and Turkey also denounced it as a sell-out of Palestinian rights by the UAE.
Reactions to the disputed deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which is aimed at normalising relations between the two nations, from Palestinians abroad and the occupied Palestinian Territories has been scathing. “May you never experience the agony of having your country stolen,” said Dr Hanan Ashrawi member of the PLO Executive Committee. She was responding to the triumphant announcement made by the UAE’s de facto absolute monarch, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ), that his country had reached an agreement to halt “further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.”
Given his personal history perhaps it is no surprise that Justin Trudeau is fond of monarchies. The United Arab Emirates is a repressive monarchy that pursues violent, anti-democratic, policies in its region. Despite this — or maybe because of it —Trudeau’s Liberal government has strengthened ties to the federation of seven Emirates. And unlike Canada’s claims to be promoting democracy in Venezuela or the Ukraine, there has been little mention of this in the media or scrutiny in Parliament.
While Justin Trudeau’s government embraces repressive Middle East monarchies, they want us to believe their campaign to oust Venezuela’s government is motivated by support for democracy and human rights. On a tour of the Middle East last week Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan met his United Arab Emirates counterpart Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi in Abu Dhabi. According to Emirates News Agency, Canadian and UAE officials discussed “cooperation in the military and defense sectors” at a time when the oil-rich nation plays a key role in the horrendous violence in Yemen.