Israel at Dubai Air Show symbolizes the new Middle East: analysis

This year’s Dubai Air Show is causing awe.

On the one hand, it is an important meeting almost two years after the pandemic. It is also a place for the giants of the aviation industry to showcase their latest news. Among those present is Boeing, with its 777X, making its debut. Russia’s Irkut Corporation also brought a new plane and Russia is launching its new fighter jet, called the Checkmate. However, the true story of the show is the role of Israeli companies.

Israel’s big three defense companies, Israel Aerospace Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems are present. All bring some of their latest technology and present their unique capabilities.

Elbit said on Sunday it would establish a company in the United Arab Emirates called Elbit Systems Emirates. “The Abraham Accords provide a solid foundation for business collaborations in the region,” said Ran Kril, Executive Vice President of International Business and Marketing. The IAI called their participation a historic first. IAI and Rafael partnered with Group 42, an artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing company founded in Abu Dhabi, in the spring of 2020, even before the Abraham Accords, heralding the eventual peace agreement.

At the center of Israel’s role in Dubai are these symbolic milestones. Companies capable of showcasing their new technology illustrate how Israel can connect to the region. This is important because it is not just about Israel or the United Arab Emirates, but the emerging broader regional strategic paradigm that includes a number of countries such as India, Israel, Greece, United Arab Emirates, France, Bahrain, United States, United Kingdom. and Cyprus as key partners. . IAI CEO Boaz Levy said on the eve of the program that “one year after the signing of the Abraham Accords, the IAI is delighted to participate in the Dubai Air Show and to expand cooperation with business partners in the region of the Gulf”.

An IAI cargo Boeing 777 flies over Tel Aviv during an IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) aircraft flyby on Israel’s Independence Day, which marks the 73rd anniversary of the creation of the state, on April 15, 2021 in Israel (credit: AMIR COHEN / REUTERS). )

In fact, cooperation looms large in this show.

Israel was conducting joint naval training with the US, UAE and Bahrain in the Red Sea last week. Israel and members of the United States Marine Corps were also training together in the Negev. Before that, there was a Blue Flag drill that included eight air forces. The chief of the UAE air force, Ibrahim Nasser Muhammed al-Alawi, arrived in Israel to observe the Blue Flag.

Now, the commander of the Israeli Air Force, Major General Amikam Norkin, went to the UAE to see the air show and participate in the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference (DIAC).

All of these events mark another “first” in the era of the Abrahamic Accords. There will come a time when we will no longer notice these “first” events because they will become the norm. That means the first time Rafael or the IAI attended a conference in the UAE is over.

The Israeli role in Cyber ​​Week or IDEX or any other major conference will be taken for granted soon. Israel is rapidly becoming intertwined in the region in a way that is not just a bilateral relationship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, but a regional grouping that relies in part on relationships with the United States Central Command and allies and partners. key of the countries involved.

This growing regional association has ramifications that go beyond specific defense agreements or even joint formation. It is a consensus that considers stability and moderation as key pillars of foreign policy.

This contrasts with the policy of countries like Iran and Turkey that prefer confrontation in the region. So wherever Iran has a role, there is poverty, chaos and civil conflict. It is in Lebanon and Iraq that people, including the Iraqi prime minister, are targeted for assassinations by Iran’s proxies.

Meanwhile, Ankara has played an aggressive and threatening role in places like Syria and Libya, often escalating conflicts rather than reducing tensions.

However, the emerging consensus between Israel and the UAE is not exhaustive. The United States, for example, is ostensibly opposed to the UAE’s rapprochement with Damascus.

For Israel, hopefully, Damascus will reduce the Iranian role there. Reports say the Assad regime may not have been affected by an IRGC-backed attack on the US Tanf garrison.

That could also be a topic of conversation in regional media. What is clear is that there are many more meetings between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates and their partners in Asia and the West.

While Israel’s role in the Dubai Air Show can be seen through specific deals and ventures, such as the involvement of UVision, an innovative company that makes marauding munitions, the biggest symbol is that Israel is now in the room with the major players in the region.

In the past, Israel often felt isolated or even bifurcated from the region, not even included in the US Central Command, for example. Now, the inclusion of Israel in the room, along with others in a multilateral framework, provides a space in which to build on the Abrahamic Accords in a way that was only a dream a few years ago.

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