Is it Oman’s turn to join hands with Israel?

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After Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain has become the fourth country in the Middle East to have established diplomatic relations with Israel.

Recently, Israel and Bahrain have agreed on a historic agreement to fully normalize their relations.

Earlier in the month of August, the peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel was formally launched with the first official flight. The flight was flown from Israel to the United Arab Emirates.

These peace accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have marked the beginning of a new chapter in diplomatic relations between Arab countries and Israel as decades of most Arab countries over the issue of Palestine and the third holy city of the Muslim world, East Jerusalem (which Have been boycotting Israel for the part of independent Palestine).

The condition before the Arab countries of Israel has been that unless they give Palestine a separate nation status, they will not compromise on peace with them. Palestinian leaders have also called the UAE’s recognition of Israel a hoax without the formation of a separate Palestinian nation.

Israel’s ties with Arab countries

Since Israel came into existence as an independent country in 1948, these issues have been hostile to Arab countries. Only this year some Arab countries tried unsuccessfully to eradicate the existence of these newly established country. The Egyptian army had to retreat. In 1979, Egypt was the first to sign a peace deal with Israel.

Due to this agreement, the Arab League also canceled the membership of Egypt. Jordan became the second country after Egypt to sign a peace deal with Israel in 1994.

Now the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have also recognized Israel and at the same time new avenues of possibilities have opened up for Israel in the Middle East. However, countries like Iran and Turkey have strongly objected to and condemned this new beginning of recognition of Israel on behalf of Middle-East countries.

Is it Oman’s turn now?

Regarding the political changes brought about by Israel in the attitude of Middle East countries, the experts say that this is because of the increasing power of Iran, decreasing oil prices, the threat of rebellion against governments in Gulf countries and the end of US support There is fear due to which these changes are being seen.

After the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, there seems to be a strong possibility that Israel may soon have a peace deal with Oman as well as the start of formal diplomatic relations between these two countries.

Israel’s informal exchanges with Oman have been going on for a few years now. In the year 2018, Prime Minister of Israel Binyamin Netanyahu has also visited Oman. Then he discussed with Sultan Qaboos, the then leader of Oman, to establish peace in the Middle East.

However, Oman has not officially said anything about the recognition of Israel and the possibility of any agreement with it. However, Oman has welcomed the peace agreement between Bahrain and Israel, and has described it as a step in establishing peace between Israel and Palestine. Since then, speculation of Oman’s peace deal with Israel has intensified.

Professor Aftab Kamal Pasha of the West Asia Center at Jawaharlal Nehru University raises a good possibility that Oman can enter into a peace deal with Israel.

He explains, “There have been old relations between Oman and Israel. Oman was the first country in the Gulf where a center on water research was opened in 1992 after the Madrid Conference. Israelis used to come and go here regularly. The then Prime Minister of Israel Rabin also came here. After that Simeon Perez also came. Netanyahu has already arrived in Oman in 2018. Apart from this, many ministers have also come. Therefore, the ties between Oman and Israel have been old. On the other hand, every time the United States has been emphasizing with Oman that you have to walk together with Israel. “

Oman’s foreign policy

But, Oman has its own special foreign policy. Oman’s relations with Iran have also been cordial and cordial. Just four days before Netanyahu’s Muscat visit in 2018, Mohammed bin Ouz al-Hassan, the political assistant to the Foreign Minister of Oman, visited Tehran and met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif.

At the same time, Oman maintained friendly relations with the Israeli Prime Minister with his reception and hosting as well as Iran. This has been the specialty of Oman’s foreign policy.

He has adopted a unique strategy for his country since the 70s. This is rarely seen in Middle East countries. For example, Oman has generally remained neutral in the territorial dispute.

In addition, Oman is an Arab country and a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Oman has never interfered in internal affairs of other countries, whereas in recent years such incidents have increased in the Middle East, such as the situation in Yemen and Syria.

And the most important thing is that Oman has always supported both sides so that one can gain the honor of a mediator.

Confused in front of Oman

In the context of such a harmonious foreign policy and a good relationship with Iran, what can be confusing for Oman to go with Israel?

Professor Pasha says about this, “Oman has longstanding ties with Iran. When there was a rebellion in Dofar, Iran sent their troops there and drove them away. Oman has enjoyed good relations with Iran even after the Revolution and when Egypt first entered into a peace deal with Israel in 1979, Oman was the only country to have welcomed it openly.

So Oman has more or less pursued a balance policy on Iran, Turkey, Israel and even Iraq. When the Gulf countries severed their relationship with Saddam, Oman refused to do so even at that time. This was a feature of Sultan Qaboos’s foreign policy. But the clarity of the new Sultan’s stance has not yet been revealed.

He adds, “But the way the new Sultan Haytham bin Tariq al-Saeed has removed the foreign minister, it seems that he does not want to make any hurry about Israel. However, Oman does not have very good ties between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE wanted to overthrow the Sultan Qaboos in Oman with internal intervention. “

“That is why he was very angry. Sultan Qaboos was also angry with these two countries about the case of Yemen. Because of the problem of refugees from the war of Yemen, Oman had to face a lot of trouble. So now the new Sultan should follow the old policy Whether or adopting independent policy, it will be a matter to be seen. “

Danger in front of Oman to go with Israel

Professor Pasha says that there are two dangers in front of Oman, which they will take care of.

He explains, “The first danger is that the rebellion which was crushed in Dofar is still active. Dofar is the largest province of Oman. It has been divided into two parts. Due to this, there has been a complaint among the local people that the oil and gas there is being given to the people of other province except their people. Since Yemen is divided into Houthi and South Yemen and Dofar has good relations with South Yemen. There are also people of the same clan.

If the situation worsens in any way, it will have a direct impact on Oman. On the other hand, what is worrying is that Oman may not want to offend Iran. Oman is dependent on America for its security, but now gradually America also wants to withdraw from the region by moving Israel. Oman also fears this. In such a situation, Oman will need with Iran. “

Certainly Oman would like to keep these apprehensions in mind before entering into any kind of agreement with Israel. Perhaps then, despite adopting a balanced foreign policy with Israel compared to other Arab countries, it has not yet extended its hand to the agreement towards Israel.

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