The Abraham Accords and non-political agency | Peter Byrne

When the Abraham Accords were signed, many more reasons for communication and cross border trade were created. Israel and the United Arab Emirates were the initial signatories of the Accords, almost immediately followed by an agreement between Israel and Bahrain that normalised relations between them and, since, Morocco and Sudan have followed suit. This is a textbook example of politics working for the people and deserves positive recognition. One impact of the political negotiations here is that it actually lays the groundwork for a non-political dialogue between individuals and their business networks in both countries. This in turn gives more agency to non-political figures in navigating a more peaceful future.

The impact of the Accords did not remain only intellectual for long – almost immediately after the statement was signed, new business was generated between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain as trade restrictions were relaxed and the markets were liberalised. The $3bn fund set up after the Accords to mobilise “private sector-led investment and development initiatives to promote regional economic cooperation and prosperity in the Middle East and beyond” by the US, Israel and the UAE boosted the opportunity for private investment to flow across borders.  This American-backed investment fund has also led to the creation of a trilateral development office based in Israel, which will be the catalyst for economic growth. 

The normalisation of trading relations, in practice, will be driven substantially by businesses and individuals which will create new wealth and spread prosperity further. Normalisation creates reasons for individuals and businesses to communicate transnationally and will boost mutual understanding which will practically be of benefit. As standards of living improve in partaking countries, and citizens are impacted by the positive economic ramifications of their countries engaging with each other, the Middle East and North African region will take another step forward to achieving lasting peace. In a region which has seen much conflict in recent times, this could signal the start of a new era of non-political dialogue and stabilisation.

There are obvious benefits for the existing signatories to the Abraham Accords, but can proximate countries that are not currently partaking expect to feel any benefits? The answer can only be yes. As states which are a party to the Accords see market development, neighbouring countries will have a more stable, peaceful, and forward-thinking environment in which to exist. This fact – that surrounding countries will not only witness success but indirectly feel it – may act as a motivator for more countries to join so that they directly and more fully benefit from the increased economic and social stability.

In a region marred by war, the Abraham Accords provide a reason to believe that peace is possible and that its effects may result in broader peaceful networks. Those who are not currently signatories should seek prosperity, peace, and freedom, becoming a part of the Abraham Accords would be a good first step to realising all three. It would also have the practical advantage of boosting non-political and political dialogue within the region, both of which are important and can benefit the populations of the countries involved.

Peter Byrne is a Policy Fellow of The Pinsker Centre, a campus-based think tank which facilitates discussion on global affairs and free speech. The views in this article are the author’s own.

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