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Abraham Accords Put to Test During Iran Attack, Saudi Agreement with Israel Could Be Next Step

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Allies taking action to blunt Iran's attack on Israel could lead to a new phase in Middle East geopolitics. The key involves several Arab nations coming to Israel's defense.

It's something experts say resulted from years of work breaking down regional barriers, with a major step forward in 2020 when the Trump administration brokered the Abraham Accords. That agreement helped normalize diplomatic relations first between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain, then eventually with Sudan and Morocco. 

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"That is one of the most gratifying things that has happened during the Biden administration, is how the Abraham accords have endured," said the Heritage Foundation's Victoria Coates, a former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Trump who played an initial role in negotiations for the agreement. 

She says it passed a true test when Arab nations joined the West in responding to Iran's attack, marking a "seismic shift" in the region. 

"The action out of Iran was unprecedented, to just attack Israel directly, and so was the Arab response. But I think most notably in there is Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis came out publicly and confirmed that they had shot down an Iranian projectile that entered their airspace," Coates told CBN News.

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Iraq, Jordan, the UAE, and Egypt all joined Saudi Arabia in providing critical intelligence, support, and cooperation.

"They realize that if you're going to be in what increasingly is a regional struggle with Iran, you could not have a better friend than Israel. And you know, that was the kind of realization that, over the course of 2019, led to the Abraham Accords, and that I think we saw on full display last weekend," Coates said.

She says there is tremendous potential for the alliance to strengthen, especially if Saudi Arabia enters a formal agreement with Israel. 

"There was talk earlier this year of potentially getting to a Saudi deal. That was derailed, I think, perhaps not coincidentally, by October 7, but that deal is still possible in the future, because it's highly unlikely the UAE and Bahrain would have entered into those kinds of deals with Israel without Saudi support," Coates said.

She believes the largest barrier is U.S. insistence that Israel comes to a deal with the Palestinians as a pre-requisite.

"That's not a Saudi point, at this point, that's the Biden administration insisting on that, and that's kind of a poison pill now, after October 7, because there's no way Israel is going to reward the Palestinians for what happened with any kind of a state," Coates explained.

With this weekend's measured response by Israel to Iran's attack, many experts believe the Jewish State took another step in strengthening ties with its Arab neighbors. 

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About The Author

Caitlin Burke Headshot

Caitlin Burke serves as National Security Correspondent and a general assignment reporter for CBN News. She has also hosted the CBN News original podcast, The Daily Rundown. Some of Caitlin’s recent stories have focused on the national security threat posed by China, America’s military strength, and vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid. She joined CBN News in July 2010, and over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to cover stories both domestically and abroad. Caitlin began her news career working as a production assistant in Richmond, Virginia, for the NBC affiliate WWBT