NEW DELHI: Concerns about Iran and its nuclear weapons are not the main drivers of the UAE’s decision to sign a peace deal with Israel. According to Talmiz Ahmed, India’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the latter is driven by visions of punching above its strategic weight in the region, but to achieve that it needs powerful friends: the US is one, also Israel. The peace deal is expected to cement the Emiratis relationship with both, more so at a time when President Trump needs help. He is trailing the Democratic challenger Joseph Biden in the run-up to the elections in November. A peace deal could see the critical Jewish vote line up behind Trump. Similarly, Netanyahu, who is under fire for corruption and faces trial in January. A peace deal with the UAE, also possibly Bahrain and Sudan, could enable Netanyahu to hold an early election, pull off a victory and then sort out his legal problems. The Gulf Arabs can do pretty much as they please given that these are authoritarian states with small populations, and therefore, any unrest can be easily managed. Ambassador Talmiz does not believe India has any role here given that the present government is largely fixated with domestic issues.
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