Since taking office in January 2021, President Joe Biden has vigorously pursued an expansion of the Abraham Accords, the Arab-Israel normalization project facilitated by his predecessor Donald Trump. While no new agreements have been forthcoming yet during Biden’s tenure, significant wherewithal has been mobilized across the U.S. government to support the process.
The failure of the Abraham Accords to expand in nearly three years is not due to a lack of effort but rather because the normalization project itself is significantly flawed, with at least five major weaknesses that undermine its effectiveness and appeal. Taken together, they have blunted the campaign of the U.S. government and Israel and paved the way for parties to the Abraham Accords, like the United Arab Emirates, and targets like Saudi Arabia, to pursue an alternative diplomatic strategy that diverges starkly from the U.S.-sponsored normalization process — namely coming to terms directly with Iran.
This issue brief outlines the five weaknesses of the Abraham Accords and concludes by showing that the parallel normalization process now underway with Iran is already producing more significant results — presenting a major challenge to U.S. ambitions in the region.
The failure of the Abraham Accords to expand poses a major problem for the Biden administration as it looks set to double down on the effort it has already made ahead of the next election cycle. So far, the administration has transferred U.S. military coordination with Israel from the purview of European Command to Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees operations in the Middle East — implementing a decision made by Trump during his last week in office. In November 2021, the first joint military exercises between the parties were conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Navy in the Red Sea. Proposals for creating a regional military architecture based around the accords, such as the Middle East Air Defense alliance (MEAD), have been floated at the highest levels of government. Multiple high-ranking diplomatic officials have been dispatched to the region to make the case for joining the Abraham Accords, with Biden himself advocating on behalf of normalization during his trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia in July 2022. Most recently, Biden named former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro to the newly-created role of Senior Advisor for Regional Integration, a post dedicated to advancing the Abraham Accords.
Congressional Pressure to Expand the Accords
Pressure to expand the accords is also emanating from Congress. In January 2022, the bipartisan Abraham Accords Caucus was formed, and within months its members had introduced legislation requiring the Department of Defense to present plans for integrating Israeli and Arab air defenses, and the Department of State to develop a strategy to strengthen and expand the accords through leveraging the full weight of U.S. diplomacy. Congressional hearings have been held to discuss how to advance normalization, and delegations have traveled to the Middle East to pitch their ideas to the region’s leaders. Multiple private enterprises headed by former U.S. officials have been established, such as the Abraham Accords Peace Institute and the Atlantic Council’s N7 Initiative, dedicated to formulating policy ideas in support of the normalization project.
Primary Target is Saudi Arabia
The primary target of this multi-faceted effort is Saudi Arabia. While this Gulf power has taken some small steps, such as allowing Israel use of Saudi airspace, it has also reaffirmed that it will not normalize until the Palestinian issue is settled. Recent reporting suggests that the Biden administration plans to make a concerted push for an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel by the end of 2023.
To date, the current administration has not appeared willing to be as transactional with American foreign policy as its predecessor, which offered major foreign policy concessions to incentivize countries like Morocco and Sudan to normalize with Israel. Biden’s reluctance in this regard could stem from Saudi Arabia’s lack of popularity among Democratic Party voters, a sentiment that encouraged Biden to lambast the kingdom’s leadership and vow to make the country a “pariah” during his 2020 presidential run. As the 2024 election approaches, however, this strategy could change as Biden seeks to score a major foreign policy achievement to eclipse Trump’s own record with the Abraham Accords, while hoping that his Democratic base does not object to what it might cost in terms of concessions to Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, if the Gulf region continues to shift away from normalization, moving closer to Iran and China, it could pose a significant political liability for Biden, especially when measured against Trump’s facilitation of normalization agreements.
Despite all this, the U.S.-sponsored normalization project is unlikely to make meaningful progress for five key reasons. The project 1) lacks intrinsic value, 2) is over-reliant on the U.S., 3) produces too much risk for Gulf states, 4) is tremendously unpopular in the Middle East, and 5) is facing the headwinds of a changing regional context.
Five Weaknesses of Israel-Arab Normalization
1. Lack of Intrinsic Value
First and foremost, the Abraham Accords lack a substantive, core achievement. Although they mark a breakthrough in relations between Israel and some Arab states, this is neither novel nor a sharp turn in direction. Two other Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, have had formal relations with Israel for 43 years and 29 years, respectively. Further, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel have had a treaty for 30 years, with the Palestinian Authority working in daily coordination with Israel for nearly that entire period. While those peace treaties are limited to the top levels of government and military, they long ago broke the taboo on recognizing and cooperating with Israel.
Moreover, the Arab parties to the Abraham Accords already had years, if not decades, of existing informal relations with Israel and had never been at war with the state. This means the accords are not peace treaties, as heralded, but merely agreements to bring into the open and formalize relations. This has allowed them to deepen and diversify away from a largely security and intelligence focus that occurred behind the scenes. Certainly, there is far more symbolism involved because of the historical enmity between the Arab states and Israel, but these particular states have never been direct parties to violent conflict with Israel.
For the UAE, which spearheaded the normalization process from the Arab side, formalizing relations with Israel serves two central purposes:
- It offers an added basis for strong relations with the U.S. — being Israel’s closest Arab ally carries weight in Washington — at a time of great concern over the future of America’s presence and security architecture in the region.
- It helps to develop a regional coalition of states to contain and confront adversaries such as Iran.
Hence the motivation is to secure against threats from others — not from the parties to the agreement.
There are Other Options for Coalition-Building. Essentially this means the Abraham Accords are an exercise in coalition-building rather than peace-building — what former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid referred to as “a new regional architecture to deter common enemies.” Viewed from Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, the weakness, as such, is that this strategy must compete with alternatives for achieving the same goals. If a different approach is seen as more capable of effectively addressing those threats, then it would likely become the preferred option. Indeed, this is largely what has happened: The UAE and Saudi Arabia have sought to de-escalate tensions with Iran by reestablishing diplomatic relations and negotiating directly with Tehran. But even if this new approach fails, the Gulf states could just as easily reason that a formal relationship with Israel no longer meaningfully improves their stock in Washington, or that America’s commitment to their security can be renewed on its own terms, in a way that’s mutually beneficial to the U.S. and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Any option that achieves results without Israel in the equation alters the cost-benefit calculus of normalization.
By contrast, for example, the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords were based on the cessation of military conflict between chronically warring parties and the return of territory taken by force — core achievements between direct parties to a conflict. While there were certainly other motivations at play for both parties that were crucial for securing an agreement — such as Anwar Sadat’s desire to bring Egypt into the U.S. orbit and Israel’s interest in separating the largest Arab country from the Arab bloc that opposed it — these were ultimately ancillary.
2. Over-Reliance on the U.S.
A second, related weakness is that the Abraham Accords are over-reliant on the U.S. as a linchpin. The U.S. both brokered the agreements and is the provider of the material concessions that helped facilitate them, from cutting-edge military equipment for the UAE (which was, notably, never delivered) to diplomatic recognition of Morocco’s claims to Western Sahara.
The U.S. offered to remove Sudan’s supporter-of-terrorism designation in exchange for forging relations with Israel. While Sudan has not actually followed through on the deal, it was the U.S. that was providing the incentives for the agreement: Israel was almost a passive participant.
Israel Has Little to Offer. Realistically, Israel has little to offer the Arab states beyond what they were already getting in an informal capacity: Clandestine military and intelligence coordination was taking place, and the Arab side had access to Israeli surveillance technology for purchase. That said, the economic-commercial component is an added benefit and has advanced rapidly since the agreements. Yet few would argue that the oil exporting states of the GCC need Israel for their economic well-being. Even military coordination could have advanced without the Abraham Accords if the U.S. had decided to bring Israel under CENTCOM without normalization.
U.S. Political Volatility and Foreign Policy Variance Makes It an Unreliable Ally. The structural dependence of the accords on the U.S. is especially problematic because the American public does not necessarily perceive any direct gains from the concessions it is making on Israel’s behalf. That is particularly true when the most important offering is America’s security commitment, already considered by many to be increasingly tenuous given the public’s growing aversion to military engagement in the Middle East — especially if the military is being used to protect third-party interests rather than America’s own. Along with the pivot to Asia and changing energy security dynamics, that aversion has been reflected in the policies of the past three presidents, who have all sought some level of retrenchment away from the region. While this is precisely what the Gulf states have been trying to guard against by seeking new rationales for America’s security commitment, it still subjects their security to the vicissitudes of U.S. domestic politics.
In fact, with the polarization and dysfunction in American domestic politics increasingly seeping into its foreign policy, it is more difficult than ever for any U.S. partner or ally to trust the continuity of America’s posture abroad from one administration to the next. This was particularly evident when President Trump assumed office and disengaged the U.S. from the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and nearly from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The decision to exit the nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was especially egregious to America’s image as a reliable partner. Although the Gulf states opposed the nuclear deal, primarily on the grounds that it did not include guarantees restricting Iran’s intervention in Arab states, pulling out of the agreement demonstrated an unnerving level of fickleness in America’s commitments.
The realities of political volatility in the U.S. and the variances in foreign policy make the U.S. a less-than-reliable partner for the states of the Middle East, especially in a high stakes confrontation with Iran. In spite of the hope that the Abraham Accords would bind the U.S. more firmly to the Gulf’s security, this article of faith has not turned into a matter of fact.
3. Great Risk for Gulf States
American reliability is crucial when considering the third major weakness, the extreme risk involved in a heavily confrontational posture with Iran. From the standpoint of the Gulf states, escalating tensions with Iran through the formation of a coalition with Israel only makes sense if the U.S. security umbrella is foolproof. Otherwise, the aggressiveness of the united effort to contain Iran puts Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which share an extensive littoral border with Iran, directly in the crosshairs of retaliatory violence. This dangerous position was put to the test between 2019 and 2022 when Saudi Arabia and the UAE had their civilian infrastructure and commercial shipping lanes repeatedly attacked by Iran and its proxies, demonstrating not only their vulnerability, but also the shortcomings of the U.S. response.
When two Saudi oil facilities were hit by cruise missiles and drones in September 2019, shutting down half the oil production of the world’s largest exporter, Trump only deployed a few thousand troops to bolster regional defenses and spoke casually of the strike occurring against Saudi Arabia and not the U.S. (Although the 2019 attack preceded the Abraham Accords, to which Riyadh is not even a party, Saudi Arabia had overtly joined the UAE and Israel in supporting Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and encouraged his decision to exit the JCPOA.) America’s Gulf partners were alarmed by this lackluster response and those that followed other attacks after the Abraham Accords were signed, providing a wake-up call to the implications of the strategy of confrontation and security dependence. Even aggressive behavior on the part of the U.S. — such as the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani with a drone strike in Iraq in January 2020 — likely only served to ratchet up tensions rather than cool them, without doing much to assuage the Gulf states’ fear of reprisal.
Furthermore, given Israel’s engagement in a “shadow war" with Iran, the implications of a formal military alliance, in which the Gulf states have little say over Israel’s use of force, is particularly risky. Therefore, it is not surprising that the UAE has distanced itself from initiatives such as MEAD, at least insofar as they constitute an alignment against Iran. In July 2022, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash expressed this discomfort to the press during Biden’s visit to the region, saying, “We are open to cooperation, but not cooperation targeting any other country in the region, and I specifically mention Iran.” He added, “The UAE is not going to be a party to any group of countries that sees confrontation as a direction.” In May 2023, the UAE announced it had even gone as far as exiting a U.S.-led naval coalition that promotes security in the Gulf waters, citing its “continuous evaluation of effective security cooperation with all partners.” While some analysts pointed to tensions between Abu Dhabi and Washington as the cause — although the UAE dismissed this view as unfounded — “all partners” could be a reference to Iran and an emergent interest of not participating in a maritime coalition partly designed to counter Iranian naval activities. More recently, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke during a visit to Iran about “the importance of cooperation between the two countries on regional security, especially the security of maritime navigation.”
4. Very Unpopular in the Region
A fourth weakness of the accords is that normalization with Israel is tremendously unpopular in the region. According to March 2022 polling from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 71% of Emiratis and 76% of Bahrainis oppose the normalization agreements their governments signed with Israel — numbers that could be on the low end given the difficulty of collecting polling data critical of government policy in these countries. Moreover, these sentiments have become less supportive over time, as the Washington Institute’s polling from November 2020 showed closer to 50% in support. Saudi citizens oppose the Abraham Accords at roughly the same level — 75% — according to the 2022 survey. That number rises even higher in countries with longstanding peace treaties with Israel, namely Egypt and Jordan, whose citizens oppose at a rate of 84%. According to the Arab Center’s annual Arab Opinion Index, which polls 14 countries in the region, an average of 84% oppose diplomatic relations with Israel, with only 8% in support.
Strong Support for the Palestinian Cause. Underlying this sentiment is strong support for the Palestinian cause — this is tightly woven into the cultural and political fabric of Arab societies and is unlikely to change any time soon. Likewise, antipathy toward and distrust of Israel is deeply rooted despite efforts to alter perceptions of Israel and Zionism in places like the UAE, and nothing in Israel’s current behavior has changed those perceptions; in fact, Israel’s ongoing repression of Palestinians and colonization of their lands are worse than ever.
Part of the calculus of the normalizing states in formalizing ties with Israel is based on the notion that the Palestinian cause no longer resonates as intensely in the region, particularly among younger generations. While there likely is some drop-off in support after 75 years, the notion that the Palestinian cause has been abandoned is overstated and is continually being challenged. The most recent demonstration of overt public support was at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which brought together people from across the region and where displays of the Palestinian flag and shows of solidarity with the Palestinian people were ubiquitous. More concretely, the Arab Opinion Index shows that an average of 76% of people across the region believe that “the Palestinian cause concerns all Arabs and not the Palestinian people alone.”
All this means that maintaining a warm and open relationship with Israel is a constant drain on a normalizing country’s reputation and image, both at home and regionally. While the opposite may be true in the West, where forging an alliance with Israel is intended to produce public relations benefits for the normalizing countries, that matters little closer to home, where rivals like Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood are able to monopolize the far more popular position of supporting Palestinians and opposing Israel. This directly undermines a core purpose of the accords — to increase power and influence over those rivals.
5. Changing Regional Context
The fifth and final weakness is the importance of the prevailing — but quickly changing — regional context in facilitating normalization. This multi-layered context includes longstanding U.S. hegemony, post-Arab Spring competition, and the persistence of the Oslo Accords era.
However, the period of American supremacy in the Middle East appears to be ending. Although the U.S. is still the most powerful external actor in the region, its position is unraveling and increasingly being challenged by Washington’s main rivals, especially China, in a new era of multipolarity. While the Gulf states will still likely look to the U.S. as a partner, they could be less deferential than in the past as they assert more autonomy in their decision-making. This has already been seen in numerous ways, including ignoring the U.S. position on the war in Ukraine, collaborating with Russia in manipulating energy markets through OPEC+, drawing closer to China as a strategic ally, and normalizing ties with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in opposition to U.S. demands, among other things. This trend does not augur well for the U.S.-sponsored normalization project.
Moves Toward Regional Comity. Further, the fierce competition that ensued between regional powers after the Arab uprisings in 2011, as they vied to influence outcomes, appears to have concluded and been replaced by a period of regional comity. In January 2021, the Saudi-UAE bloc lifted its blockade of rival Qatar, followed quickly by a rapprochement with Turkey. In July 2022, the UAE restored diplomatic ties with Iran, and Saudi Arabia followed suit in March 2023 after years of mediation by local actors, Iraq and Oman. Finally, in May 2023, Syria was welcomed back into the Arab League after being suspended in 2011. If this moment of rapprochement holds, it weakens the impetus for normalizing with Israel, which was partly driven by this competition. The period of turmoil and civil war also had the effects of overshadowing and marginalizing the Palestinian issue, which could now return to the fore as evidenced by its reemergence as a focus at the most recent Arab League Summit in Jeddah.
Lastly, the relationships between Gulf states and Israel largely began after the Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the early 1990s. The Oslo Accords blurred the redlines on engaging with Israel that had stood for nearly half a century. Although the Oslo process failed and Israel’s military occupation deepened, the basic structure it created — namely the Palestinian Authority (PA) — continued to function along with the “peace process.” This kept the lines blurred and allowed the Gulf states to develop years of backchannel ties with Israel that finally pushed through to normalization in 2020.
Israel’s Unpopular Policies Militate Against Normalization. Nonetheless, the Oslo era has persisted longer than anyone’s imaginings and today is nearer to its end than ever before. The PA is teetering on the edge of collapse and holds little legitimacy among its own people, a majority of whom now reject a negotiated two-state solution. At the same time, no Israeli government in more than a decade has even feigned interest in a negotiated solution with Palestinians. Instead, the Israeli right — with its unshakeable hold on political power — has unrelentingly pursued de facto annexation, intending to hold the West Bank indefinitely. This has led an increasing number of observers, including a virtual consensus of international human rights professionals, to conclude that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid.
Although these conditions have been apparent for a long time, the current far right government in Israel has made it unmistakable. This has had a chilling effect on the prospects of normalization. The UAE has expressed its discomfort in numerous ways, such as refusing a state visit from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since his return to power in December 2022 and public rebukes of Israeli policies from UAE officials at the United Nations Security Council. While that is unlikely to result in a break in relations for those who have already normalized, it may well deter others from making the same leap in the future.
Powerful Competition From an Alternative Strategy
Given these weaknesses, it is unsurprising that there have been no new additions to the Israel-Arab normalization project, and that countries inside and outside the Abraham Accords have pursued alternative approaches to achieving their relevant goals.
The most important of these is the restoration of diplomatic relations between the Saudi-UAE bloc and Iran. Indeed, the Saudi decision to reconcile with its prime adversary runs counter to the logic of the U.S.-sponsored normalization agreements, which are predicated on forging an anti-Iran alliance.
Saudi-UAE Rapprochement With Iran. While the Saudi-Iran rapprochement is by no means guaranteed to succeed, it does not suffer from the same flaws as the Abraham Accords. The agreement was made between parties to a region-wide power struggle and is intended to de-escalate tensions between them — creating a core achievement that can be the basis of a lasting relationship. Although the agreement was ultimately brokered by China, which is the largest trading partner of both countries and can play a role in the deal’s fulfillment, the reconciliation is not dependent on China in the same way the Abraham Accords are dependent on the U.S. Moreover, the Saudi-Iran rapprochement is not risk-generating but instead seeks to de-escalate tensions across the region in arenas where competition for influence has exacerbated conflicts, such as Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. This makes it broadly popular across the region, including among Palestinians.
The weakness of the Saudi-Iran rapprochement, rather, is that these countries may not be able to rein in the forces they have empowered in the region’s various conflict zones. For example, actors like the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen have their own interests and incentives to carry on fighting, and it is not certain whether they will resolve differences in their own complex milieu in the interest of Iran. If they choose otherwise, Iran could be blamed — fairly or unfairly — for not doing enough. The same is true in Iraq and elsewhere in the region, where local actors may not subscribe to the terms of reconciliation.
Furthermore, there are deep-seated ideological and political differences between Saudi Arabia and Iran that have not been addressed and could upend the agreement, just as they disrupted relations in the past. Iran also has a hard-won network of affiliates throughout the region that have given it strategic depth, allowing it to project power and influence, expand its military capabilities, and break the containment strategy pursued by adversaries. Iran will likely be very reluctant to dispense with this tangible asset in exchange for the promises of reconciliation with Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies.
While drawbacks with the new Saudi-Iran rapprochement do pose significant challenges, the motivation to de-escalate region-wide tensions has a firmer logical footing than the Abraham Accords. The accords normalization project is flawed by the five major weaknesses described in this brief. Consequently, the Biden administration’s effort to expand the project and eclipse the record of Trump is likely to come up short. While Saudi-Israeli normalization is not off the table, the cost for the U.S. to make it happen through concessions to Saudi Arabia is clearly rising as a result of the weaknesses previously described and the countervailing trends on the Iran-China front. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman knows that this is a one-time choice and will decide accordingly.
 “Normalization” means establishing full diplomatic relations between states, rather than the previous state of official non-recognition with limited backchannel relations between governments, or a “cold peace” in which two states maintain a peace treaty and high level ties without open economic or people-to-people relations (such as Israeli-Egyptian and Israeli-Jordanian relations).
 Asma Khalid, “Biden is building on the Abraham Accords, part of Trump’s legacy in the Middle East,” NPR, July 9, 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/07/09/1110109088/biden-is-building-on-the-abraham-accords-part-of-trumps-legacy-in-the-middle-eas.
 Tim Ripley, “Pentagon moves Israel under Central Command,” Janes, January 18, 2021, https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/pentagon-moves-israel-under-central-command.
 Frank Gardener, “First joint naval exercise by Israel and Gulf states signals Iran worries,” BBC, November 15, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-59289341.
 Lara Seligman and Alexander Ward, “Biden wants a Middle East air defense ‘alliance.’ But it’s a long way off,” Politico, July 12, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/07/12/biden-middle-east-air-defense-alliance-00045423.
 Hesham Alghannam and Mohammad Yaghi, “Biden’s Trip to Saudi Arabia: Successes and Failures,” Sada, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August 11, 2022, https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/87662.
 Ben Samuels, “Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro Set to Become First Abraham Accords Envoy,” Haaretz, June 29, 2023, https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/2023-06-29/ty-article/.premium/former-u-s-ambassador-to-israel-dan-shapiro-set-to-become-first-abraham-accords-envoy/00000189-07b0-dbf5-a3cf-afb4d1a90000.
 Marc Rod, “Congress launches bipartisan Abraham Accords Caucus,” Jewish Insider, January 10, 2022, https://jewishinsider.com/2022/01/congress-abraham-accords-caucus-launch/.
 Jared Szuba, “Congress wants Pentagon to bolster Arab, Israeli air defenses against Iran,” Al-Monitor, June 9, 2022, https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/06/congress-wants-pentagon-bolster-arab-israeli-air-defenses-against-iran.
 Marc Rod, “House Foreign Affairs approves Israel Normalization Act,” Jewish Insider, October 1, 2021, https://jewishinsider.com/2021/10/house-foreign-affairs-approves-israel-relations-normalization-act/.
 Barak Ravid, “Biden admin pushing for Saudi-Israeli peace deal by end of year, officials say,” Axios, May 17, 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/05/17/saudi-arabia-israel-peace-normalization-deal-biden-admin.
 Peter Baker and Ben Hubbard, “Biden to Travel to Saudi Arabia, Ending Its ‘Pariah’ Status,”New York Times, June 2, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/02/us/politics/biden-saudi-arabia.html.
 Omar H. Rahman, The emergence of GCC-Israel relations in a changing Middle East, Brookings Institution, July 28, 2021: 1, https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-emergence-of-gcc-israel-relations-in-a-changing-middle-east/.
 Rahman, The emergence of GCC-Israel relations: 2–3.
 Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen and Heshsam Youssef, “The Negev Summit Furthers Arab-Israeli Normalization,” United States Institute of Peace, March 31, 2022, https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/03/negev-summit-furthers-arab-israeli-normalization.
 Ben Samuels, “Two Years After Abraham Accords, Why the UAE F-35 Deal Remains Grounded,” Haaretz, September 13, 2022, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/security-aviation/2022-09-13/ty-article/.premium/two-years-after-abraham-accords-why-the-uae-f-35-deal-remains-grounded/00000183-3743-d070-abef-f7d755450000.
 “Proclamation on Recognizing The Sovereignty Of The Kingdom Of Morocco Over The Western Sahara,” White House website, December 10, 2020, https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-recognizing-sovereignty-kingdom-morocco-western-sahara/.
 Nabi Mohiedeen, “Sudan Welcomes US Decision to Remove Khartoum from Sponsors of Terrorism List,” Voice of America, December 15, 2020, https://www.voanews.com/a/africa_sudan-welcomes-us-decision-remove-khartoum-sponsors-terrorism-list/6199599.html.
 Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Israel and the Gulf Arab States: Drivers and Directions of Change, research paper, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Houston, Texas, September 2016: 4–9, https://www.bakerinstitute.org/sites/default/files/2016-09/import/CME-pub-GCCIsrael-090716.pdf.
 Rahman, The emergence of GCC-Gulf relations, 2–4.
 Katie Lobosco, “NAFTA is officially gone. Here’s what has and hasn’t changed,” CNN, July 1, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/01/politics/usmca-nafta-replacement-trump/index.html.
 Peter Baker, “Trump Abandons Trans-Pacific Partnership, Obama’s Signature Trade Deal,” The New York Times, January 23, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/23/us/politics/tpp-trump-trade-nafta.html.
 Julian E. Barnes and Helene Cooper, “Trump Discussed Pulling U.S. from NATO, Aides Say Amid New Concerns Over Russia,” The New York Times, January 14, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/us/politics/nato-president-trump.html.
 Mark Landler, “Trump Abandons Iran Nuclear Deal He Long Scorned,” The New York Times, May 8, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/world/middleeast/trump-iran-nuclear-deal.html.
 Jim Krane and Mark Finley, The U.S. Response to Attacks on Persian Gulf Oil Infrastructure and Strategic Implications for Petro-States, Issue Brief, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Houston, Texas, October 29, 2019: 1, https://www.bakerinstitute.org/research/us-response-attacks-persian-gulf-oil-infrastructure.
 Gerald Feierstein, Bilal Saab, and Karen Young, US-Gulf Relations at the Crossroads: Time for a Recalibration, Middle East Institute, April 2022: 7, https://www.mei.edu/sites/default/files/2022-04/US-Gulf%20Relations%20at%20a%20Crossroads%20-%20Time%20for%20a%20Recalibration.pdf.
 Phil Helsel, Ken Dilanian, and Josh Lederman, “U.S. airstrike kills top Iran general, Qassem Soleimani, at Baghdad airport,” NBC News, January 2, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/airstrike-kills-top-iran-general-qassim-suleimani-baghdad-airport-iraqi-n1109821.
 Dalia Dassa Kaye, “Israel’s Dangerous Shadow War With Iran,” Foreign Affairs, February 27, 2023, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/israel/israels-dangerous-shadow-war-iran.
 John Irish, “UAE working to send envoy to Iran, against anti-Iran axis, official says,” Reuters, July 15, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/uae-working-send-envoy-iran-against-anti-iran-axis-official-2022-07-15/.
 Lisa Barrington, “UAE says it has stopped taking part in U.S.-led Gulf maritime coalition,” Reuters, May 31, 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/uae-says-it-withdrew-us-led-maritime-coalition-two-months-ago-2023-05-31/.
 “Saudi Arabia urges improved maritime security in Gulf as ties with Iran resume,” Reuters, June 17, 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/saudi-foreign-minister-arrives-tehran-amid-rapprochement-iran-tv-2023-06-17/.
 Dylan Kassin and David Pollock, “Arab Public Opinion on Arab-Israeli Normalization and Abraham Accords,” Fikra Forum, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, July 15, 2022, https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/arab-public-opinion-arab-israeli-normalization-and-abraham-accords.
 “Arab Opinion Index 2022: Executive Summary,” Arab Center Washington DC website, January 19, 2023, https://arabcenterdc.org/resource/arab-opinion-index-2022-executive-summary/.
 “Israel-Palestine’s Worsening Violence and Despair,” Hold Your Fire!, International Crisis Group podcast, February 3, 2023, https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/east-mediterranean-mena/israelpalestine/israel-palestines-worsening.
 “The Palestinian cause no longer binds the Arab world,” The Economist, April 24, 2021, https://www.economist.com/special-report/2021/08/24/the-palestinian-cause-no-longer-binds-the-arab-world.
 Ishaan Tharoor, “At the World Cup, the Arab world rallies to Palestinian cause,” The Washington Post, December 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/12/06/world-cup-arab-world-rallies-palestinian-cause/.
 “Arab Opinion Index 2022: Executive Summary,” Arab Center Washington DC website.
 David Gardner, “Mistrust between the US and the Gulf underscores the need to reset relations,” The Financial Times, March 16, 2022, https://www.ft.com/content/7bba37b9-a18a-4ea4-b139-9b26a6fded26.
 Maria Fantappie and Vali Nasr, “A New Order in the Middle East?” Foreign Affairs, March 22, 2023, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/china/iran-saudi-arabia-middle-east-relations.
 Samia Nakhoul and Aziz El Yaakoubi, “ANALYSIS-Saudi embrace of Assad sends strong signal to US,” yahoo!news, May 23, 2023, https://uk.news.yahoo.com/analysis-saudi-embrace-assad-sends-041450937.html.
 Missy Ryan, “Arab embrace of Assad underscores divergence with U.S. over Syria,” The Washington Post, May 19, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/05/19/syria-assad-arab-league-sanctions/.
 Rahman, The emergence of GCC-Israel relations, 4.
 International Crisis Group, Managing Palestine’s Looming Leadership Crisis, Report, February 1, 2023, https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/east-mediterranean-mena/israelpalestine/238-managing-palestines-looming-leadership-transition.
 “Human Rights Consensus Around Crime of Apartheid,” Human Rights Watch, March 25, 2022, https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/03/25/human-rights-consensus-around-crime-apartheid.
 Lazar Berman, “After months of delays, Netanyahu receives invitation to visit UAE for world summit,” Times of Israel, May 23, 2023, https://www.timesofisrael.com/after-months-of-delays-netanyahu-receives-invitation-to-visit-uae/.
 Adla Massoud, “UAE Minister of State calls on Israel to ‘immediately cease’ all settlement activity,” The National, April 25, 2023, https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/2023/04/25/uae-minister-of-state-calls-on-israel-to-immediately-cease-all-settlement-activity/.
 “Israel ‘embarrassed’ UAE, so no other Arab state will normalise ties,” Middle East Monitor, May 23, 2023, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20230523-israel-embarrassed-uae-so-no-other-arab-state-will-normalise-ties/.
 Fantappie and Nasr, “A New Order in the Middle East.”
This material may be quoted or reproduced without prior permission, provided appropriate credit is given to the author and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. The views expressed herein are those of the individual author(s), and do not necessarily represent the views of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.