Over the past few months, essentially since the administration of US President Joe Biden entered the White House, officials in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have adopted a new strategy in terms of their foreign policies regarding Iran and renewing diplomatic ties with the Islamic republic, Israel Hayom reported.
Initially, it was the Saudis who held a series of clandestine meetings in Baghdad with senior Iranian officials, attended among others by the Saudi ambassador to Iraq, Israel Hayom noted. Then the Emiratis opened a dialogue with the Iranians, even appointing former foreign minister Anwar Gargash to spearhead the efforts.
Gargash, who met with Ali Bagheri, Iran's deputy foreign minister and the man in charge of the Islamic republic's nuclear program, declared after the meeting in Abu Dhabi that its purpose "was to stabilize relations and reduce tensions with Iran." The senior Emirati diplomat added that a senior UAE delegation would soon reciprocate with a visit to the Iranian capital.
The United Arab Emirates did not just renew dialogue with Iran, however. After the telephone conversation between Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Emirati Foreign Minister was sent to Damascus to meet with al-Assad - despite Washington's warning that the UAE may face sanctions for doing so.
At first, the UAE said the reason for these meetings was claimed to be improving relations in the region and eliminating conflict, as well as helping the Syrian government extract itself from Iran's grip.
However, now, senior officials in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have admitted that the main reason for the change in policy was that the regional anti-Iran coalition, formed with former US President Donald Trump's encouragement and by the Abraham Accords and which included Israel, Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, has fallen apart and essentially no longer exists.
"It's true that we recently held joint military trainings and exercises, which were also intended to send a clear message to Tehran," a senior official in Abu Dhabi told Israel Hayom. "But the coalition which was formed with the encouragement of Trump and his administration, and which was essentially an unofficial regional defense pact backed by the Americans between Israel and the Gulf States, who are concerned that the extremist Ayatollah government will achieve nuclear weapons - has evaporated."