Join the CIC National Capital Branch’s Middle East Study Group on its first event of the new season, featuring Mr. Jon Allen, a distinguished former Canadian diplomat, who will discuss Israel’s internal politics and the potential consequences of the newly announced Israel-UAE diplomatic relations on new negotiations with Palestinians and the rest of the region.
Biography: Jon Allen joined Canada’s then Department of External Affairs in 1981. In addition to various postings abroad, Mr. Allen spent his early career in the Legal Bureau where he represented Canada in disputes under the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and worked in the areas of human rights and humanitarian and environmental law. Later, Mr. Allen held senior positions: he served as Director General, North America Bureau, Minister (Political Affairs) at the Embassy of Canada in Washington and Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas. From 2006 to 2010, he was Ambassador of Canada to Israel. Afterwards he served as Ambassador to Spain and Andorra and was Chargé d’affairs a.i. to the Holy See. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and he is a sought-after media commentator on Middle East affairs. Mr. Allen is also a Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian International Council (CIC).
Overview: The recent events in the Near East have inspired fresh speculations about the complex jigsaw puzzle that portrays the geopolitics of the region. A review of recent articles about the ongoing negotiations between the key players of the coalition government in Israel reveals that the PM’s sudden demand for a one-year budget and greater power over senior appointments, including top law enforcement officials, may unnecessarily strain his party’s coalition agreement with Blue and White. It is stipulated that, if this and other contentious internal party politics are not resolved, the people of Israel may be asked to take part in yet another national election. There are also many speculations about the timing of the recent announcement of Israel-UAE diplomatic relations.While both parties have denied that this agreement is against the current administration in Iran, some observers believe it was deliberately designed to exert more pressure on Tehran. Other observers believe that the UAE embraced this opportunity in response to a request from US and Israeli politicians who seek to distract their voters.In return, the UAE has been promised access to a new squadron of F-35 fighter jets and drones. Nonetheless, it is well known that during the 1970s both Iran and Israel had security and intelligence sharing cooperation with the Sheikhdoms of the Arabian Peninsula to push back the Soviets and their Cuban mercenaries from the region and the Horn of Africa. Ostensibly, Israel maintained these discrete security relations beyond the 1970s.As such, no one would be surprised if these secret allies open up diplomatic relations with Israel.
Regardless, the key questions remain: a) Will this new diplomatic relationship between Israel-UAE facilitate a mutually acceptable conclusion to the current Israel-Palestine negotiations regarding a two-state solution? b) Could this key foreign policy shift in the region solidify Mr. Trump’s chances of getting re-elected? and c) Would the exaggerated shared concerns about Iran bring more Arab nations to seal diplomatic relations with Israel and thereby help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to solidify his position in Israel?
Date: Wednesday, September 16
Time: 5pm – 6:30pm EDT
Send advanced questions to Hamid Jorjani, Chair of the Middle East Study Group – email@example.com