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To take on Iran, Lapid sketches out vision for a regional ‘alliance of life’

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01.09.2021

Speaking at a Casablanca hotel earlier this month during his first visit to Morocco after Jerusalem and Rabat reestablished relations last year, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid laid out his vision for a coalition that would bring hope and prosperity to the region.

“What we are creating here, and what we have been creating over the past few months, is essentially a political axis,” Lapid told journalists.

“Think about it as a sort of alliance consisting of Israel, Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan, and in some ways one can also add Cyprus, Greece, Bahrain, the UAE — a all the nations that are moderate religiously with truly limitless economic potential… An alliance of life in the face of the alliance of death of Iran and its emissaries.”

The remark didn’t cause much of a stir during Lapid’s Morocco trip, and it remained below the radar when he revisited the theme Sunday during a meeting with his Greek and Cypriot counterparts.

The trilateral alliance, Lapid said, was “a key part of something bigger. A moderate, pragmatic and forward-looking alliance. A growing group of countries working together with a shared vision. From the UAE and Bahrain in the Gulf, Morocco in North Africa, Egypt and Jordan in the Middle East, Cyprus and Greece in the Mediterranean, and others that are joining all the time.”

An “alliance of life” that spans from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean seems to be the essence of Lapid’s emerging vision for the region: the next phase of the Abraham Accords process that Israel — and the foreign minister himself — hopes to lead.

Though Lapid largely focuses on uncontroversial initiatives like cooperation on agriculture, water, and technological innovation, there is an undeniable geopolitical — even national security — element to the growing partnerships.

There are two very different regional powers that are of concern to members of Lapid’s “alliance of life”: Iran, certainly, but also Turkey, which is seeking to expand its power and influence at the expense of its neighbors.

But interests within Lapid’s desired assortment of partners are tangled and complex, based on countries’ individual concerns.

This is especially apparent in the Gulf, where Saudi Arabia and the UAE — both Western-allied hereditary Sunni regimes with growing ties with Israel — do not see eye-to-eye on their primary foe Iran. For the Saudis, the........

© The Times of Israel


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