On September 15 last year, the United States, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed what has been called “a positive step toward stability in the turbulent Middle East.”
The key goal: endorsing a significant new trend in Arab-Israeli relations through:
—Recognition of Israel and normalizing its diplomatic relations for the first time with several Arab countries.
—Later last year, two other countries, Sudan and Morocco, also joined the Abraham accords. That raised the number of Arab states recognizing Israel from two to six.
U.S. News and World Report, on the eve of Abraham Accords anniversary, cites Qatar as a key contributor to the continuing progress.
In its view, the tiny Persian Gulf country (population, 2.8 million) also has the resources and connections to convene additional Mideast regional peace conferences.
In September 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was quoted as saying that Qatar’s assistance in negotiations on Afghanistan was “only one of the ways Qatar is promoting stability in the region.”
Other Arab states now recognizing Israel include Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates in addition to longer-term partners Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan.
What to watch for in the coming days
Last April, 101 Nobel laureates including the Dalai Lama, called on world leaders to stop expanding the production of fossil fuels such as gas and oil.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) warns that continuing expansion of gas and oil production conflicts with international pledges to limit or even reduce these.
Alternative clean air technologies are possible to foster alternatives to greenhouse gas production. A London-based expert on air pollution at Policy Exchange.org, Richard Howard, focuses on future technologies that could improve air quality in cities.
Among these: autonomous vehicles, more commonly referred to as self-driving cars. Studies have shown, Mr. Howard says, that these could improve fuel efficiency by 15 to 40 %. Volvo, he adds, has plans to introduce so-called “trial driverless cars” in London (passengers would still control these vehicles) by 2017.
Cleaner air is key. A Dutch company, Studio Roosegarde, for example, has developed a “smog-free tower.” The first such tower has already been installed in Rotterdam.
Its designers say it could clean 3.5 million cubic meters of air daily. The European Commission recently launched a 1.5 million Euro research prize for so-called diesel-retrofit technologies, so assistance to produce cleaner air may be ahead in many countries.
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More