When Our Middle East Friends Talk, They Talk about Hedging
This commentary was originally published in The Hill on February 21, 2022.
In a recent conversation with a senior Israeli official, I asked what strategic insights he had gained from discussions with his Emirati counterparts. After all, Emiratis have spent decades traveling easily throughout the region, while Israeli discussions with neighbors have often been secret, security-focused, and slightly distrustful. As Israeli and Emirati ties have deepened, one of the advantages for Israel has surely been having better access to Emiratis’ assessments of regional affairs and regional leaders, and especially insights into the sorts of information and judgments that are hard to derive from technical means.
His answer surprised me. He said the Emiratis told him to hedge. Perhaps even more surprising, he suggested that Israel was taking the advice to heart.