Al-Aqsa Storm, Defeat of Misconceptions of Arab States about Normalization

2023/11/21 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - Interview: An expert on Israeli affairs, saying that the blow the Zionist regime has received from the “Al-Aqsa Storm” operation severely shattered the notion that the regime is an immutable reality that must be dealt with in the region noted: The crimes committed by the Zionist regime in Gaza will remain in the minds of the people of Islamic countries for a long time and will be a serious challenge for normalization.

In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Mehdi Ashna emphasized that one of the most important consequences of the Al-Aqsa Storm operation was its impact on the “Abraham Accords” and especially on the prospect of Saudi Arabia normalizing relations with the Zionist regime and added: Before the operation, the US and Saudi Arabia were conducting negotiations to normalize relations with the Zionist regime. The US objective was to conclude a security-defense agreement with Saudi Arabia, both to prevent this country from approaching China and to advance the normalization of ties between the Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia to strengthen its control over regional developments.

He added: With this operation, the negotiations have been suspended, and the bipolar atmosphere created due to the war does not allow the normalization process to proceed. In addition, the relations of the Zionist regime with countries that have normalized their relations, such as Bahrain and Jordan, have been severely endangered. In fact, a serious blow has been dealt to the normalization process, the result of which has been the suspension of negotiations between Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the Zionist regime for normalization.

Saying that the normalization project does not seem to be successful in the short term, the expert on the Zionist regime’s affairs further remarked: The Biden administration had opened a particular account on the dialogue between Saudi Arabia and the Zionist regime and viewed normalization of their relations as a progress for the acceptance of the Zionist regime in the region, a blow to Iran’s influence in the region and achievement to present in the US presidential election, and with this operation, none of those demands can be realized.

Ashna stated that the Arab countries’ approach to the normalization of relations with the Zionist regime was the result of several assumptions which, by carrying out the operations, the wrongness of those assumptions became apparent, and explained: The first misconception was that the Zionist regime would be ready to solve the two states problem with an interactive approach and give the Palestinians a part of their rights. But now, the falseness of such a misconception has been proven that the interactive approach of the Arab countries can help provide the rights of the Palestinians and adopt a flexible approach towards them by the Zionist regime.

He considered the second perception of the Arab countries that led to the movement towards the normalization of relations with Israel as the perception of its invincibility and the necessity of coming to terms with Israel as an existing reality and continued: They thought that not only should they come to terms with this reality, but also it can even be relied on for security. Some Arab countries suggested that Iran is a significant threat and they can unite with the Israeli regime to deal with it. Operation Al-Aqsa Storm also broke down this idea.

The expert on the Zionist regime’s affairs recalled: The progress of the normalization process was, to a great extent, based on this understanding of the strength and deterrence of the Zionist regime, and now this perception has been damaged and has reduced the motivation for normalization to some extent. Returning to the normalization process requires that the feeling of invincibility and the Arab countries’ perception of the strength and deterrence of the Zionist regime be restored, which does not seem possible in the short term.

Saying that the Arab countries also thought that by advancing the normalization process, they would get the definite political-security support of the United States, Ashna said: The operation showed that such support is nothing more than a mirage, and even if it is real, it is not clear how effective it is for them. The future of this war will make it clear that the value of the political-security support of the United States is so much that those countries will sacrifice the rights and interests of the Palestinians for it or not. Of course, so far, the field reality has shown that the political-security support of the United States will not be very beneficial for the Arab countries.

He added: Another misconception of the Arab countries was that the issue of Palestine has lost its importance and sensitivity in the eyes of the public opinion of the Arab and Islamic world, and if they normalize relations with the Zionist regime, nothing will happen. Al-Aqsa Storm showed that this is a false idea. The high volume of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Zionist regime in Gaza, which was caused by the regime’s inability to restore its deterrence credibility, strongly aroused public opinion and clarified the wrongness of this notion. In such a way, paying attention to public opinion has become a serious factor in the calculations of countries following the normalization process, especially Saudi Arabia.

Ashna pointed out the intensification of the anti-Western atmosphere, especially in Islamic societies, and the opposition to the normalization process and stated: Although the final situation depends to a great extent on the course of the war, the misconceptions will not change in the short term. If the Zionist regime is possibly able to eliminate the political and military power of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, give control of Gaza to Palestinian Authority, and sign a unilateral agreement with the Palestinian compromise movement with the support and pressure of the US, disarm Palestine and make it in a limited territory, it is possible that some Arab countries, under the influence of this heavy blow inflicted by the Zionist regime and the US on Palestine, will join this agreement out of desperation and try to advance the process of normalization, although the reality on the ground will not allow this process to go ahead.

According to Ashna, the United States now has this scenario in mind that it can find a solution for the Palestinian issue by eliminating the resistance groups, and with the normalization issue, it can implement geopolitical plans, including the new Arab-Mediterranean Corridor (Arab-Med), and to solve its security challenges, it now sees the opportunity ripe to eliminate Hamas to ensure the realization of its geopolitical plans for several decades by unilaterally compromising with some Palestinian groups. But in addition to the fact that the realities on the ground will not allow such measures and the Zionist regime is not able to eliminate the resistance in Gaza, other resistance groups will not allow this either.

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