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Opinion: Ending the Iranian occupation

September 11, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Arabs have more in common with Israel than many realize, writes Jason Greenblatt, the former US Middle East envoy under President Trump: The entire region suffers under Iran's sprawling influence and consistent threats to stability and security.

They also reflect a changing Middle East: Notably, this anger is not being directed against Israel, even if the West has wrongfully long seen an Arab-Israeli divide as the region's fulcrum of conflict, but against Tehran.

Now, yet another country has announced it will open diplomatic ties with Israel: After the US-brokered deal with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain has become the second Gulf state to normalize relations, a move that sends further shock waves through a region in which Arab countries have long resisted any diplomatic recognition of Israel.

The Middle East is slowly being transformed by the combination of these anti-Iranian regime protests and the potential of peace agreements between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors, which are now tantalizingly within reach.

The Abraham Accord between the United Arab Emirates and Israel -- the name for the US-brokered agreement between the two countries to open normalized diplomatic relations -- has shattered roadblocks between Israel and its Arab neighbors and has put an end to the veto card over progress in the region that the Palestinian leadership held for decades to the significant detriment of the region around them.

Today, our focus must be on the "Iranian Occupation": what I find to be the best term for Iran's sprawling influence across the region, from its exertion of political influence in Iraq (via ties to Shia political actors and militias that are part of the official state security apparatus) to its support for Hamas in Gaza, to its long-standing backing of the terrorist group Hezbollah, to its involvement in the Syrian war to prop up the dictator Bashar al-Assad via its proxies.

The United Arab Emirates, for instance, is now unafraid to say that Iran, not Israel, is the real regional threat.

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