Firstly, the cordial start to the tour and the friendly and constructive negotiations quickly laid to rest some international observers’ apprehensions about the polity’s ability to successfully carry out a ‘sensitive juggling act’ —having sociable relations with both Washington and Teheran. Secondly, on a slightly larger scale, it bolsters analyses seeing a clear shift in greater Middle East politics, one involving a break from the traditional status-quo-maintenance to a proactive resolution of lingering crises and disputes.
That the visit of Iranian president comes at the heels of the Saudi brokered Hamas-Fatah truce, Ahmadinejad’s historic journey to Saudi Arabia, the Arabs uniting on the GCC front to throw the peace-deal ball in Israel’s court and rising anti-Western sentiment in Arab capitals, does not come across as much of a surprise. In fact, it is conformation that unprecedented (mostly West-provoked) jolts to the region’s fabric have moved the collective leadership to finally drop hopes of foreign powers moving to heal regional wounds. Instead, they have decided to overcome as many regional rigidities as possible, and that too quickly, so a unified outlook can precede a yet more concrete change of course —one that realises the political as well as economic potential of the region.And in that exercise, the UAE shall play one of the most crucial roles. The UAE stand out as a severe rebuttal to East-West clash. In a short span of time, they have carved one of the world’s most powerful business and tourist attractions right out of the sand of the desert. In a world where terrorist threats and border security concerns battle with free trade deals and ultimate growth figures in world leaders’ minds, the Arab heartland is reorienting its modus-operandi to minimise avoidable disturbances and forge the most amicable deals. That is why increased UAE-Iran interaction is welcome. It will provide for increased economic and trade interaction, which will smoothen negotiations over territorial disputes. This reflects the political maturity of regional leaders, and is appreciated as the way forward.
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