Establishing close military and commercial ties would give Abu Dhabi access to Israel’s sophisticated drone arsenal, but a security relationship has long existed.

Abu Dhabi’s newly established relationship with Israel could provide it with a new weapons supplier.

With officials from both sides holding their cards close to their chest over the nature of their future relationship, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed optimism about the possibilities of a trade relationship.

The hard-right Likud party leader wants commercial flights open as soon as possible, even stating such flights may cross Saudi territory - a country which has not yet recognised Israel but seems likely to do so.

Israel’s new alliances with Arab states comes despite its own occupation of Palestinian land, which it has expressly stated that it does not intend to relinquish.

Nevertheless the benefits of a relationship with the Israelis was too much of a temptation for the UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed to resist despite his country’s nominal demands for Palestinian sovereignty and rights.

Clandestine customer

One new area MBZ could be hoping to build a presence in is Israel’s sophisticated arms industry.

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have expressed an interest in Israel’s renowned Iron Dome anti-missile system in the face of threats from Iran and its proxies.

Abu Dhabi is reported to have already purchased Israeli drones to aid the hapless Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, who having failed to take the capital Tripoli, is on the retreat in the face of the country’s legitimate government, which is backed by Turkish-made drones.

Israeli companies have also sold the UAE spyware that has been used by the country’s totalitarian rulers to target leaders of rival states, such as Qatar, and Emirati dissidents inside and outside the country.

Weapons procured from Israel would also have the added benefit of not coming with human rights requirements attached.

While the US benefits from the overwhelming majority of the UAE’s $23 billion in arms spending a year, technically at least, it bears ultimately responsibility for how they are used. American lawmakers are therefore concerned that US supplied weapons will be used against civilians in Yemen, for example.

The new trade relationships would not come without caveats. As a Haaretz analysis piece points out, by buying arms from the Israelis, American arms manufacturers stand to lose out from increased competition in what was once a market in which they enjoyed near exclusivity.

Any illusions that the UAE might have that friendly ties with Israel would lead to a child in a sweetshop type situation might also prove premature.

Netanyahu immediately contradicted the Emirati claim that the deal would include halting the annexation of the West Bank, instead promising Israelis that it would still go ahead.

The Israeli leader has also told envoys in Washington to express his opposition to the sale of F35 fighter jets to Abu Dhabi.

Such statements make clear that the Israelis have no intention of relinquishing their military dominance in the region by allowing an effective Arab military force to develop.

Source: TRT World