Finding Canada’s Role in Mideast Region Post Israel-UAE Deal

August 25, 2020 Updated: August 26, 2020

News Analysis

Canadian policy-makers should mull the importance of the recent normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and work toward ensuring its success, experts say.

Shuvaloy Majumdar, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a former policy director to successive foreign ministers, says the development is a historic achievement that will shift the dynamic in the Middle East.

“It is an historic accord that is long in the making. With it, the leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Israel have confirmed a regional realignment,” he tells The Epoch Times.

Canada’s interests are to stand in support of seeing two allies come together, and our diplomacy in the region and beyond should be to see the success of this accord.”

U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker a deal between the two parties, which on Aug. 13 was sealed during a phone call between Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and crown prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed. It has been hailed as a crucial development toward peace in the region not seen since the normalization of relations between Israel and Jordan in 1994.

Known as the Abraham Accords, the agreement intends to “chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region” through new partnerships and economic integration, including co-operation on the response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The two countries are also planning on exchanging ambassadors and embassies for the first time.

The deal, which includes Israel’s agreement to suspend plans to annex areas of the West Bank, has increased confidence in other countries regarding opportunities to further connections with Israel. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Sudan this week for meetings with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Sudanese Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, arriving on the first-ever official direct flight from Tel Aviv.

Other Gulf countries like Bahrain that have been becoming more open to Israel have responded positively to the deal, congratulating the U.A.E. for “taking steps to enhance the chances for Middle East peace.”

Kaveh Shahrooz, a Munk senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and frequent commentator on Iran-Canada relations, says Canada should take advantage of the new developments in the Middle East to further its interests and as another opportunity to counter Iran’s aggression in the region and beyond.

“Canada should do everything in its power—through international forums like the U.N. and using back channels—to encourage the normalization of relations between Middle Eastern countries and Israel,” he said in an interview.

“Not only is that good in itself, but it will help further isolate Iran. Iran’s longstanding policy has been to heighten tensions in the region and use that tension to advance its regional ambitions. The more peace prevails in the region, the more the Iranian regime’s goals will be thwarted.”

As the deal and the ensuing new dynamics develop, Majumdar says Canadian foreign policy must reflect the changes and be adaptable to contemporary realities.

“Iran, Turkey, and Qatar have sought to diminish regional peace through their disruptive ventures,” he says.

“As new alignments begin to take hold in the Middle East, Red Sea, and Indo-Pacific regions, Canadian leaders need to shake free from old paradigms and engage the realities of the modern world.”