In This Review

Fraternal Enemies: Israel and the Gulf Monarchies
Fraternal Enemies: Israel and the Gulf Monarchies
By Clive Jones and Yoel Guzansky
Oxford University Press, 2020, 224 pp

Although the United Arab Emirates didn’t seem likely to be the first in line, the announcement in August that Israel would normalize relations with a Gulf country was not a surprise to most Middle East watchers. As Jones and Guzansky show, the deal was a long time in the making. This thorough, detailed, and timely look at the history of increasingly close, if discreet, trade ties and security cooperation between Israel and all the Gulf monarchies combines the scholarly perspective of Jones, a professor in the United Kingdom, and the experience of Guzansky, a former security adviser in the Israeli government. They argue that these relationships can be understood as a “tacit security regime” among regional states confronting similar challenges, notably the advance of Iran and the retreat of the United States. The book’s real value is its fast-paced tour through decades of plausible deniability, profitable business deals, and increasing intelligence cooperation. It is well sourced; the authors refuse to indulge in speculation. But it remains an open question whether the policies of any of the players stem from the realpolitik of state interests or from the domestic political calculations and personal inclinations of particular rulers.