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Will Oman be next? Rumors swirls that Gulf State will sign peace deal with Israel – 有传言说海湾国家将与以色列签署和平协议

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Will Oman be next? Rumors swirls that Gulf State will sign peace deal with Israel

While the sultanate publicly approved of the UAE and Bahraini announcements regarding normalization with Israel, its relations with Iran may hold it back.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

As the UAE and Bahrain prepare to sign a normalization accord with Israel at the White House on Tuesday, the question on everyone’s lips is who’s next – and Oman seems to be the leading candidate in the rumor mill.

Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al Said, installed as ruler only in January after his cousin, decades-long leader Qaboos bin Said al Said died, publicly approved of Manama’s decision on Friday.

“The Sultanate welcomes the initiative taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain and hopes that the new strategic path will lead to peace in the Middle East, based on the end of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state whose capital will be East Jerusalem,” the state TV channel’s Twitter account said.

The Sultanate similarly welcomed the UAE decision to normalize ties with Israel in August.

After Oman’s announcement, the country’s official news agency reported on a phone call between Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his Omani counterpart to discuss regional issues and the need to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Oman, Bahrain, and the UAE make up half of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a political and economic union of Gulf Arab states. Oman may be induced to follow their lead for financial reasons as well as political ones, because its economy has been in the economic doldrums for several years, well before the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the world economy.

A Fitch Ratings report expects Oman’s government debt to reach at least 80 percent of GDP this year. Its sovereign rating has been downgraded twice in 2020, and now stands at BB-, which is considered junk bond territory. Meanwhile, the UAE is Oman’s most important trade partner, and according to a BBC report in January, it is increasingly infringing on Oman’s sovereignty.

There are counterbalancing considerations that could hold Oman back.

Unlike other Persian Gulf countries, chiefly Saudi Arabia, the sultanate still has good relations with Iran, which sits a short distance away from it across the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh would like to see everyone back American sanctions against its Persian rival because of its nuclear ambitions and sponsorship of terrorism. However, according to official Tehran figures, Iran exported $768 million worth of goods to Oman in 2019 and the two countries are actively encouraging economic cooperation and trade on multiple fronts.

“The reason why open and full relations have not yet been established [with Israel] is the reasonable possibility that Oman’s relations with Iran will be significantly harmed,” an Arab diplomatic source told Israel Hayom Monday.

尽管苏丹国公开批准了阿联酋和巴林关于与以色列实现正常化的公告,但其与伊朗的关系可能会使其受阻。

巴蒂亚·耶伦贝格(Batya Jerenberg),《世界以色列新闻》

随着阿联酋和巴林准备于周二在白宫与以色列签署一项正常化协议,每个人的疑问是下一个是谁-阿曼似乎是谣言工厂的主要候选人。

苏丹·海瑟姆·本·塔里克·赛义德(Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al Said)仅在他表弟数十年的领导人卡布斯·本·赛义德·赛义德去世后的一月份才被任命为统治者,并于周五公开批准了麦纳麦的决定。

“苏丹国欢迎巴林王国采取的主动行动,并希望新的战略道路将在以色列占领结束并建立一个以首都东耶路撒冷为基础的独立巴勒斯坦国的基础上导致中东和平”,该州电视频道的Twitter帐户表示。

阿曼苏丹国同样欢迎阿联酋8月份与以色列实现关系正常化的决定。

阿曼宣布这一消息后,该国官方通讯社在以色列外交大臣加比·阿什肯纳齐(Gabi Ashkenazi)与阿曼外交部长的电话中报道了该地区的问题以及两国之间加强联系的必要性。

阿曼,巴林和阿联酋组成了海湾合作委员会的一半,海湾合作委员会是海湾阿拉伯国家的政治和经济联盟。阿曼可能出于财务原因和政治原因而被迫效仿,因为阿曼的经济处于低迷状态已经有好几年了,远在冠状病毒大流行对世界经济造成严重破坏之前。

惠誉评级报告预计,阿曼今年的政府债务将至少达到GDP的80%。它的主权评级在2020年被两次降级,目前位于BB-,这被认为是垃圾债券领域。同时,阿联酋是阿曼最重要的贸易伙伴,根据英国广播公司(BBC)一月份的报告,阿联酋正日益侵犯阿曼的主权。

有一些平衡方面的考虑因素可能会使阿曼退缩。

与其他波斯湾国家(主要是沙特阿拉伯)不同,苏丹国与伊朗仍然保持着良好的关系,伊朗与霍尔木兹战略海峡的距离不远。利雅得希望看到每个人都支持美国对其波斯竞争对手的制裁,因为它的核野心和赞助恐怖主义。然而,根据德黑兰官方数据,伊朗在2019年向阿曼出口了价值7.68亿美元的商品,两国正积极鼓励在多个方面的经济合作与贸易。

阿拉伯外交消息人士周一对以色列说:“与以色列建立开放和全面关系的原因是,阿曼与伊朗的关系将受到重大损害的合理可能性。”

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