Magnolia trees The Danny Sims Blog

Here are my occasional insights, stories, conversations, perspectives, ideas, reflections, theological musings. And whatever else I might post.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Peace, Security, Prosperity in the Middle East? Unthinkable!

Note: This post is not about the tragedy facing women and anyone who won't serve the Taliban in Afghanistan, nor the unnecessary egregious mistakes of the Biden pullout debacle, nor the certain death friends of the US military left behind in Kabul and across the nation will face. Perhaps another post on another day.

When distressing over Afghanistan and the US track record in the Middle East, I’d like to point to something hopeful. Something you might have forgotten.

The US backed Abraham Accords are recent agreements between Israel and several Arab states (Morocco, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Sudan). Once unthinkable, Israel and Arabs formally agreed to pursue a vision of peace, security, and prosperity in the Middle East and around the world. That exact wording is lifted right out of the Abraham Accords.

Peace, security, prosperity in the Middle East and the world. Sounds nice, huh?

We hardly noticed the first official anniversary of the Abraham Accords as the Taliban ran over Afghanistan’s government last week. And why would we? The scenes from Kabul are opposite of peaceful, secure, and prosperous. Plus, there’s always politics. The Biden Administration would not want to celebrate any deals, even historic ones, brokered by the Trump Administration. And it would be the other way around, I’m sure.

Afghanistan has never been mistaken for a stable centralized government interested in peace accords. Instead, Afghanistan has been the world’s top breeding ground for terrorism. And get ready for round two of that. They are not alone. Iran isn’t signing anything with Israel. Palestine and Israel have conflicts that not only predate the Abraham Accords, but their conflict goes all the way back to Abraham himself. I’m sure Tehran and Gaza are happy to see the Taliban back and already have double dates with Hezbollah and Hamas.

However, there is a difference this time. Afghanistan is collapsing back into chaos as Morocco, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Sudan have standing agreements with Israel, agreements specifically pledging mutual efforts for security, peace, and prosperity.

When other Arab states seek those exact same things, do they realistically think the Taliban, Iran and Palestine will provide it? Might more Arab nations agree to shake hands with Israel?

Unthinkable, right?

Maybe other Arab governments will see a new signal coming from Kabul: they should not rely on the United States to protect them. The cynic might say they cannot rely on the United States. But let’s be honest. Many American voters have been insisting the US become less of a police force around the world and specifically in Afghanistan.

Who might Arab governments seeking security turn to? Even ten years ago no one would have thought anything close to the Abraham Accords was a possibility. But as that sage geopolitical observer Bob Dylan famously said, the times they are a changing.

I hope we see more Abraham Accord-like deals. They might not even be for moral or ideological reasons. Future accords will have existential and practical motivations. Peace, security, and prosperity come to mind.