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UAE crown prince key to Israel relations, documentary claims

Mohammed Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu-Dhabi [En.kremlin.ru]
Mohammed Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu-Dhabi [En.kremlin.ru]

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Bin Zayed is crucial to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s relations with Israel, an Israeli documentary has claimed.

Israel’s Channel 13 News continues to unveil what it describes as “the secrets of mutual relations between Israel and the Arab Gulf states,” after broadcasting on Monday evening the third episode of its documentary series – all of which have been daily translated by Arabi 21.

The latest episode tackles the relations between the UAE and Israel, notably its relations with Abu Dhabi.

The political analyst of Channel 13 News, Barak Ravid – who prepared the documentary series – indicated that “the failure to seal a drone deal between an Israeli company and the UAE has resulted in a rupture in relations between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.” Ravid continued: “The condition for establishing the deal was the agreement on a bilateral cooperation to confront Iran. However, the cancellation of the aircrafts bargain has led to the breakdown of relations between the two countries for several years, until an additional deal was [later] finalized.”

Ravid pointed out that “the secret deal was agreed upon in 2009, but its last-minute cancellation damaged relations between the countries for two years, in addition to frustrating Israeli efforts to weaken Iran. Hence, the severe crisis was resolved only by means of tireless efforts made by the administration of former US president Barack Obama and marathon negotiations under the auspices of the Mossad.”

He explained that “mutual cooperation between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi emerged in conjunction with the growing Iranian influence in the region and the progress of the Iran’s nuclear project, despite the fact that what separates the UAE – which is one of the richest countries in the world – from Iran is only the Strait of Hormuz”.

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Ravid went on to say that “the alliance between [the UAE and Israel] was characterized during the last few years by the exchange of security information, political and economic interests, most of which was communicated under the cover of secrecy. Such cooperation was a life-like imitation of the old adage: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

Ravid confirmed that “in February 2009, veteran US diplomat Dennis Ross – who was assigned for a new mission in the Obama administration – held an exclusive meeting at the Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown, Washington DC. Back there, Ross was greeted by Israeli Ambassador, Sallai Meridor and Emirati ambassador, Yousef Al-Otaiba. Thus, both ambassadors agreed upon sending a strongly worded message to the Obama administration through Ross on the eve of leaks that the new US administration intends to engage in dialogue with Iran, Israel’s and the UAE’ s common enemy”.

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Meridor told Channel 13 News that he “is unwilling to disclose the details of the meeting, but his motivation was a deep concern about the common interests between Israel and the Arab countries in the face of Iran. Israel is alarmed about Iran’s nuclear project and the Arab countries are concerned about the Iranian activities in the region”.

Ravid indicated that, “in July 2009, two senior US officials arrived in Abu Dhabi and met Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed, aka MBZ, who is known to be the de facto ruler of the state. He was the key actor in strengthening the secret alliance with Israel. Thus, according to a memo sent by the US ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Bin Zayed expressed his opinion to the two US officials about what the new Israeli government intends to do about the Iranian file; and at that time [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu was recently elected.”

He added: “Bin Zayed confirmed that he agrees with Israeli intelligence’s assessments about Iran’s progress in its nuclear project. He also believes that the Israelis intend to attack the Iranian nuclear reactors sooner than what Washington expects, and it may be as soon as this year, i.e. 2009. However, MBZ felt that Iran will respond by firing its rockets at us in the UAE”.

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