The relationship between the United Arab Emirates and Israel has significantly transformed over the past decade. From virtually no diplomatic ties, the two countries have now developed close security and defence ties due to mutual concern about the rise of Iran and the importance of cyberspace in international affairs.
In addition, both countries have seen the potential for economic and trade opportunities through closer cooperation. But unfortunately, both the UAE and Israel are now working together to spy on European citizens and their own nationals under the guise of security.
Many people have been killed due to hacking their phones and knowing life details. What will it take to stop using this software? Are we really safe as journalists and activists anywhere in this world?
Prior to 2010, the UAE maintained a commitment to the Palestinian cause and had virtually no diplomatic ties with Israel. However, the rise of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the UAE’s ruler led to a shift in the country’s threat perception and foreign policy, leading to closer security and defence ties with Israel.
This was further exacerbated by the Arab Spring and the perceived threat from Islamist groups, which prompted the UAE to adopt a security-first approach to domestic politics and regional affairs. This provided the backdrop for the deployment of Pegasus, a spy program developed by the Israeli-owned NSO Group in the UAE.
The UAE Pegasus controversy began in 2021
The use of Pegasus in the United Arab Emirates became a source of controversy in 2021, with investigations revealing its use by the ruler of Dubai to hack his ex-wife’s mobile phone. The UAE figured prominently as one of the most active users of spyware. The normalization of political relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel in 2020 further cemented the close security and defence ties between the two countries.
The case of Pegasus in the UAE highlights the evolving relationship between the two countries, which has come a long way from the virtually non-existent ties of the past. However, the difficulties faced by the NSO group raise questions about the future of distributing sophisticated spyware in the UAE.
Increasing military ties between the UAE and Israel
The growing military and intelligence ties between the UAE and Israel also created opportunities for the NSO group and Pegasus, an Israeli-owned and operated sophisticated spyware, to enter the Emirati landscape. The close security coordination between the two countries enabled the widespread deployment of Pegasus. Moreover, it facilitated its use in monitoring and tracking perceived threats to the stability and security of the UAE.
Iran: A content element for Israel and the United Arab Emirates
One of the key factors that drew Israel and the United Arab Emirates closer was their shared concerns about the rise of Iran and its growing influence in the region. Both countries saw Iran as a significant security threat and were concerned about its nuclear program and support for militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. In response, Israel and the United Arab Emirates began to develop closer arrangements for intelligence sharing and security cooperation, which helped lay the groundwork for the eventual normalization of their political relations.
Realm of cyberspace
Another factor that helped bring the two countries together was the rise of new technology and the growing importance of cyberspace in international affairs. Israel and the UAE have invested heavily in cutting-edge technologies and cyber defence capabilities. As a result, they saw the potential for closer cooperation in this area to strengthen their mutual security further.
Economic and commercial opportunities
In addition, the two countries were also motivated by the prospect of economic and trade opportunities that could result from closer ties. Israel is a global leader in high technology and innovation. At the same time, the United Arab Emirates has developed its economy rapidly and wants to take advantage of the latest technology and business innovations.
By forging closer relations, both countries saw the potential to create new business and investment opportunities and expand their trade and commerce relations.
Overall, the closer ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates reflect a convergence of strategic interests and shared security concerns, as well as the recognition of the economic and technological benefits that can be realized through closer cooperation. As a result, the relationship between these two countries is likely to remain strong and continue to develop in the years to come.
Source: dagensn yheter