Inside the Normalization Agreements Between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain
For the final episode of the season, the podcast focuses on a very significant step for Israel: the recent normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Unlike with past peace partners Egypt and Jordan, Israel never fought either Gulf country on the battlefield. However, converging regional thinking, economic incentives, and shifting discourse about the indigenous roots of the Jewish people mean that these agreements have the potential to reshape the Middle East.
The episode features two guests who know the motivations and behind-the-scenes negotiations that shaped the agreements better than almost anyone else: the Emirati and Bahraini ambassadors to the United States. Yousef al-Otaiba has represented the UAE in that role since 2008 and was promoted to the rank of minister in 2017. Otaiba is credited with being the leading architect of the breakthrough with Israel. H. E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Rashed Al Khalifa has served as Bahrain’s ambassador since 2017 and was previously in charge of the kingdom’s Southern Governorate. This is one of the only joint interviews that they have done together since the breakthrough was announced.