Mossad: timing of Saudi-Israel peace depends on who wins US election

October 28, 2020

* New poll: 80 percent of Saudis now “support normal relations with Israel”

* Mossad head:“If Trump wins next week, the Saudi agreement with Israel could be announced immediately. If Biden wins, the timeline for the agreement is murkier.”

* Tom Gross: If Biden wins, the Saudis are expected to try to prevent a new Biden administration from reducing the pressure on Iran’s Islamic regime, and use the prospect of a peace deal with Israel as leverage to try and prevent Biden from re-entering the JCPOA nuclear deal which many people in the Arab world and Israel view as a dangerous agreement that naively paves the way for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

* As the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms Iran is building an underground centrifuge assembly plant and stockpiling increased amounts of low-enriched uranium, the US Congress may allow the sale to Israel of bunker-buster bombs capable of penetrating heavily fortified underground structures.

 

A girl running on a hill near Debaga camp. At least 400,000 Iraqis who fled ISIS in 2014 are still housed in a series of camps in Kurdish territory in northern Iraq. They are being prevented from returning to their homes in Mosul and elsewhere in Iraq, by Iranian regime-backed Shia militia groups.

 

Above, an Etihad Airways flight from the United Arab Emirates lands at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport last week. The warming of ties between Israel and the Arab world appears to be moving faster now than at any time in history, according to my estimate.

Every day there are new breakthroughs announced. For example, yesterday the soccer leagues of Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement to hold matches between the professional football clubs of each country. Other Arab countries are expecting to sign on to the agreement soon.

 

CONTENTS

1. Trump says “we have 10 countries” waiting to join Israeli-Arab deals after US election
2. US helps guide Sudan away from Iran into “the peace camp”
3. Mossad: timing of Saudi-Israel peace announcement depends on US election winner
4. 80 percent of Saudis “support normal relations with Israel”
5. Oman may sign peace deal with Israel “very soon”
6. IAEA: Iran currently building nuclear facility underground
7. Trump imposes sanctions on Iran’s oil, tries to tie Biden’s hands
8. US drones and allies kill several Qaeda leaders and operatives
9. Fresh Russian airstrikes kill dozens in Syria “as warning to Turkey”
10. Gaza court convicts Palestinian peace activists for zoom call with Israelis
11. Bahraini institute partners with US to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism

 

[Notes by Tom Gross]

TRUMP SAYS “WE HAVE 10” COUNTRIES WAITING TO JOIN ISRAELI-ARAB DEALS AFTER U.S. ELECTION

U.S. President Donald Trump said yesterday that up to 10 more Arab countries are in negotiations to normalize ties with Israel, following agreements that his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and special advisor Jared Kushner helped broker in recent weeks between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

According to Trump, further agreements between Israel and Arab countries will be signed after the U.S. election on November 3.

When asked by reporters yesterday whether other countries will normalize ties with Israel, Trump replied: “We have five, but we really have probably nine or ten that are right in the mix. I’ll think we’ll have all of them … It will be after the election. We’re doing a lot of work right now.”

Trump added that “I’m involved in all of these deals.”

 

US HELPS GUIDE SUDAN AWAY FROM IRAN INTO “THE PEACE CAMP”

On Friday, Trump announced that Israel and Sudan had agreed to normalize relations in a joint phone call broadcast live from the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

An official Sudanese-Israeli signing ceremony will likely be held at the White House in the coming weeks, a spokesperson for Trump said. He added that Israeli-Sudanese ties will initially focus on economy and trade, with Israeli know-how helping to improve Sudanese agriculture.

Until recently Sudan was closely allied with Iran and was also a sponsor of terrorism internationally.

Many opponents of Trump who disagree with all or most of his domestic policies, nevertheless acknowledge that his approach to peace making – which is the very opposite of the overly sympathetic approach by the previous US administration toward the Iranian and Palestinian regimes – has paved the way for ties between Israel and Arab countries.

Trump said yesterday that ‘all’ Middle Eastern states will eventually normalize ties with Israel.

Some observers, including myself, have long supported this approach to peace making, long arguing that Fatah, Hamas, and even the Iranian regime were far more likely to agree to make peace with Israel only after they see that the rest of the Arab and Muslim world was doing so.

 

MOSSAD: THE TIMING OF SAUDI-ISRAEL PEACE ANNOUNCEMENT DEPENDS ON WHO WINS THE US ELECTION

Israeli intelligence sources say that Saudi Arabia will quickly announce a normalization deal with Israel if Trump wins the U.S. presidential election

If Biden wins the Saudis will likely try to prevent a new Biden administration from reaching out too quickly towards Iran’s Islamic regime, and use the prospect of a peace deal with Israel as leverage to try and prevent the new US government from doing so.

Every other Arab country (with the possible exception of Iran’s ally Syria) is concerned that Biden may appoint to senior positions those same Obama-era officials who remain enthusiastic about the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal which many people in the Arab world and Israel view as a very dangerous agreement that naively paved the way to Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Biden has promised that if elected he will discuss re-entering the 2015 nuclear agreement that Trump withdrew from in 2018.

“Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal showed the Arab world that the US has our backs, and helped us to decide to make peace with Israel,” an Arab ambassador in Europe told me earlier this year.

“If Trump wins,” Mossad director Yossi Cohen reportedly said, “the Saudi normalization announcement could be made immediately. If Biden wins, the timeline for the agreement is murkier.”

 

For more on Trump’s foreign policy please also see my video discussions

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens:

Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland (who also mentioned in this conversation that he was a mentor to Sasha Baron Cohen before he became Borat)

The Times of Israel editor David Horovitz

 

80 PERCENT OF SAUDIS “SUPPORT NORMAL RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL”

According to a poll of Saudis conducted by Zogby Research, 80 percent of Saudis now support normalization with Israel.

In a separate poll of Israelis by the Mitvim Institute, Israelis considered normalization with Saudi Arabia the most strategically important country with whom Israel should normalize relations.

 

OMAN MAY SIGN PEACE DEAL WITH ISRAEL “VERY SOON”

The Gulf kingdom of Oman is also likely to announce normalization with the Jewish state in the near future, Israeli Channel 12 news reported citing unnamed Israeli officials, possibly even before the US election.

Oman has been forthright in its praise for the recent normalization agreements between the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel, saying the Abraham Accords “contribute to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was given a warm welcome in Oman in 2018, even though the two countries are officially at war.

Yesterday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also said that Lebanon had indicated a new willingness to make peace with Israel. In recent days the two countries have started technical maritime border talks under US auspices.

 

IAEA: IRAN CURRENTLY BUILDING NUCLEAR FACILITY UNDERGROUND

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed in an interview with the Associated Press yesterday that Iran is building an underground centrifuge assembly plant in Natanz. (Netanyahu has long accused Iran of doing so.)

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the IAEA said that the Iranians “have started, but it’s not completed. It’s a long process,” but would not give further details.

According to the IAEA, Iran is also stockpiling increased amounts of low-enriched uranium.

The US Congress will later this week discuss a bipartisan bill to allow the sale of Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) to Israel. The MOP is a bunker-buster bomb capable of penetrating heavily fortified underground structures.

 

TRUMP IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON IRAN’S OIL, TRIES TO TIE BIDEN’S HANDS

The Trump administration imposed sweeping economic sanctions against Iran’s oil sector on Monday.

The Treasury Department announced sanctions on Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum, the National Iranian Oil Company and its oil-tanker subsidiary for providing financial support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the elite military unit that is designated as a terrorist group by the United States and has played a key role in the killing of civilians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Iranian government “uses the petroleum sector to fund the destabilizing activities” of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, adding that Iranian leaders continue “to prioritize its support for terrorist entities and its nuclear program over the needs of the Iranian people.”

The New York Times notes that: “The Trump administration is trying to fortify its campaign of maximum pressure against Iran from being reversed by a potential Biden administration.”

“A [renewed] negotiating process could require unwinding a series of sanctions that Mr. Trump has levied on Iran. But given the number of actions Mr. Trump has enacted, it could become difficult for Mr. Biden to undo them.”

“A future President Biden would have a tough time lifting these sanctions given the inextricable link of the energy sector to terrorism and the IRGC,” said Mark Dubowitz, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

 

AMERICAN DRONES AND ALLIES KILL SEVERAL QAEDA LEADERS AND OPERATIVES

The New York Times reports today:

“Last week was a bad week for Al Qaeda around the world. At least seven top Qaeda operatives were killed in the latest of a recent spate of U.S. Special Operations drone strikes in northwest Syria.

“Afghan commandos killed a senior Qaeda propagandist in a raid in a Taliban-controlled district. And the United States continues to pressure the Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, the Shabab, which may be undergoing a leadership shake-up.

“Yet nearly two decades after the 9/11 attacks and with many of its top leaders dead, both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, as well as their global affiliates and supporters, remain resilient and has ‘ingrained itself in local communities and conflicts’ spanning the globe, from West Africa to Yemen to Afghanistan, a U.N. counterterrorism report concluded.”

 

FRESH RUSSIAN AIRSTRIKES KILL DOZENS IN SYRIA “AS WARNING TO TURKEY”

In violation of a seven-month truce in northern Syria, on Monday Russian warplanes killed at least 72 people including Turkish-backed Syrian fighters, and civilians harvesting olives nearby.

Some observers said that the Russian airstrikes were a warning to Turkey not to further increase its military support for Azerbaijan against Russia’s ally Armenia, in the ongoing fighting in the southern Caucasus.

 

GAZA COURT CONVICTS PALESTINIAN PEACE ACTIVISTS FOR VIDEO CALL WITH ISRAELIS

While much of the rest of the Arab world is making peace with Israelis and holding various online peace meetings, a military court in Gaza on Monday convicted three Palestinian peace activists for organizing a video call with Israelis in April.

The activists belong to the Gaza Youth Committee, which held a two-hour zoom peace meeting with Israelis in English.

 

BAHRAINI INSTITUTE PARTNERS WITH US TO COMBAT ANTI-SEMITISM AND ANTI-ZIONISM

A Bahraini institute has signed an agreement with the US State Department “to combat anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and the antisemitic delegitimization of Israel.”

The agreement was signed in Washington by Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, a member of Bahrain’s royal family. He is chairman of the King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence. “We all know that hatred is the enemy of peace,” Khalifa said at the signing ceremony.

The document also accepts the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which includes comparing Israel to the Nazis.

44 parliaments or governments have adopted the IHRA definition, most recently on Thursday Albania, a secular Muslim country. Various left-wingers in the US and Europe continue to argue that it is not a form of anti-Semitism to compare Israel and the Nazis.

Tom Gross adds: Several Bahrainis I know have long been much more sympathetic to Jews than various Europeans I know.

Two particularly interesting ones who are also subscribers to this Mideast list, are waiting for more Arab countries to formally make peace with Israel before agreeing to do public zoom conversations as part of my series that I have shared with this Mideast list:

https://tomgross100.wixsite.com/chatswithtom

 

* You can also find other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.