Arab–Israeli alliance against Iran

The Arab-Israeli alliance against Iran,[3] occasionally referred to as an Israeli-Sunni alliance or coalition,[4][5] is an unofficial coalition in Western Asia. It was promoted by the United States following the February 2019 Warsaw Conference.[6] It is based on mutual shared regional security between Israel and mostly Sunni Arab States led by Saudi Arabia. Participating Arab states form the core of the Gulf Cooperation Council. They include Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.[1]

Arab–Israeli alliance against Iran
TypeUnofficial alliance
PurposeCountering Iranian influence in the Middle East as part of the Iran–Israel and Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflicts
Middle East
Saudi Arabia[1]
United Arab Emirates[2]


The roots of the alliance started in the 2000s, due to the decreasing importance of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict as a wedge issue and mutual tensions with Iran.[7] By 2016 GCC states have sought strengthened economic and security cooperation with Israel, which is involved in its own proxy conflict with Iran.[8] The de facto coalition emerged by November 2017,[9] upon warming ties between Israel and the Gulf States and received broad media attention in light of the February 2019 Warsaw Conference, "This week’s global summit in Warsaw will test the main pillar of the Trump administration’s policy in the Middle East: The belief that Israel and key Arab states can form an alliance against Iran, even when peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians seem more distant than ever."[10]

The Trump administration tried to launch a “Middle East Strategic Alliance” (also known as the "Arab Nato") including the GCC states, Egypt, Jordan, and possibly Morocco. In April 2019 Egypt announced that it would not participate. The pact has not been announced as of 11 January 2021. "The late 2020 UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco agreements to normalize relations with Israel could have constituted an alternative, insofar as the UAE and Bahrain normalization decisions were related, at least in part, to countering Iran."[11] In 2020, as part of the Abraham Accords, various countries normalized relations with Israel, these countries were: the United Arab Emirates,[7] Bahrain, Sudan,[12] and Morocco.[13] The Marshall Center analysed the Abraham Accords in October 2020, including the involvement of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but before Sudan and Morocco took action; the Marshall Center described that the Abraham Accords "strengthens the informal anti-Iran alliance in the region".[14]

According to authors Yoel Gozansky an Iran expert at the Institute for National Security Studies, a Tel Aviv think tank, and professor Clive Jones, a Middle East security specialist: "Our approach lies in understanding Israel’s ties with many of the Gulf monarchies, notably Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain, not as some formal alliance but rather as a manifestation of a Tacit Security Regime. This regime allows for the evolution of ties between Israel and the Gulf monarchies to be explored and analyzed while allowing us to be mindful that these relations have rarely been linear, let alone underpinned by any shared normative values."[15]

In an anniversary analysis of the Abraham Accords, Haaretz said that the accords were premised on the idea of an "Israel-Sunni" anti-Iran coalition and that normalization would help but that "it’s very doubtful there ever was such a coalition, and the accords did nothing to create or solidify one."[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b The solidifying Arab-Israeli Alliance "Relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia continue in the shadows, with reports of senior Israeli officials regularly visiting the Gulf States. Israeli cabinet ministers have openly visited the UAE and Oman, with more set to take place in the future."
  2. ^ "Arab-Israeli Progress Seemed Impossible. That's Because of Old Assumptions". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. September 23, 2020. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  3. ^ Totten, Michael J. (2016). "The New Arab–Israeli Alliance". World Affairs. 179 (2): 28–36. doi:10.1177/0043820016673779. JSTOR 26369507. S2CID 151328992.
  4. ^ Lappin, Yaakov (2021-02-04). "Biden decision on weapons sales to Gulf states 'important test' for Israeli-Sunni alliance". Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  5. ^ Olson, Robert (2016-06-13). "Renewal of Turkey-Israel Relations Imminent". LobeLog. Retrieved 2021-03-19.
  6. ^ Lesley Wroughton (13 February 2019). "U.S. meeting on Middle East brings together Israel, Gulf Arab states". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  7. ^ a b Entous, Adam (June 18, 2018). "Donald Trump's New World Order". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  8. ^ Ramani, Samuel (12 September 2016). "Israel Is Strengthening Its Ties With The Gulf Monarchies". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  9. ^ Marcus, Jonathan (24 November 2017). "What's shaping the Israel-Saudi 'alliance'". BBC News. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  10. ^ Tibon, Amir (13 February 2019). "Warsaw Summit Will Test U.S. Gamble on Israeli-Arab Pact Against Iran". Haaretz. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  11. ^ Congressional Research Service Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies, p.24 January 11, 2021
  12. ^ Ravid, Barak (September 7, 2016). "Israel Urges U.S., Europe to Bolster Ties With Sudan, Citing Apparent Split With Iran". Haaretz. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  13. ^ "Morocco, Israel normalize ties as US recognizes Western Sahara". The Jerusalem Post. December 11, 2020. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  14. ^ Norlen, Tova; Sinai, Tamir (October 2020). "The Abraham Accords – Paradigm Shift or Realpolitik?". Marshall Center. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  15. ^ Clive Jones; Yoel Gozansky (April 2020). Fraternal Enemies: Israel and the Gulf Monarchies. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-752187-8.
  16. ^ "Abraham Accords a year on: Israel's biggest challenges remain".