Brokered by the Trump administration, these deals represent two of the most broadly popular developments for both Trump and Netanyahu in many years.
These agreements are called "peace deals," although Israel has never been at war with either the UAE or Bahrain. They are also hailed as opening "cooperation" between Israel and the two Gulf states, although they've been cooperating for many years, albeit clandestinely.
Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said, "The Bahraini, Israeli, American agreement to normalize relations is now part of a bigger package in the region. It is not about peace, it is not about relations between countries. It is a military alliance being created in the region led by Israel." I don't always agree with Erekat, but in this case, his analysis is on the mark.
The military alliance Erekat refers to is primarily about confronting Iran, which remains at the top of Trump's failing foreign policy agenda. For both Israel and the Gulf monarchies, the concerns are broader, though Iran is the biggest single motivating factor for these newly open alliances.
For example, the increasingly close relationships between Turkey, Russia, and Iran are one consideration. In Libya, the terrain is complicated, with France, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, and Greece on various sides of clashing factions in a conflict that is increasingly becoming a proxy war between Turkey and Egypt. Other powers like Russia and Saudi Arabia play key roles in the background. The potential consequences of this web of conflict are all too visible in Syria and as the Libyan conflict has the potential to draw even more players in, a strong regional alliance of countries with shared interests like Israel and the Gulf monarchies becomes more tempting.