It came as a surprise but it is not surprising. When the United Arab Emirates and Israel announced that they would establish normal relations with each other, in a US-brokered agreement last week, they publicly accepted what has been obvious for several years now — that the national interests of the Emirates along with those of Saudi Arabia and many other Arab states were converging with those of Israel.
The triangular contest in the Middle East — with Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia vying for regional dominance — is a modern replay of older rivalries between the Persians, Ottomans and Arabs. With Israel perceiving an existential threat from Iran and being wary of once-friendly but increasingly threatening Turkey, realist logic would expect Tel Aviv to gravitate towards the Arab nations. The thorny Palestinian question long prevented an alliance between Israel and the Arab powers. Set that aside and Israel and the Arab nations become co-travellers on the road to prevent Iranian and Turkish hegemony over the Middle East.