Finally, the normalization deals with UAE and Bahrain, and to some extent Morocco, do not appear to be the kind of "cold peace" Israel has with Egypt and Jordan. In the UAE and Bahrain there appears to be a public will to engage in cultural, people-to-people exchange. Israeli society's deep cultural ties with Morocco (due to a large Israeli immigration from Morocco after Israeli independence) also suggest a potential for a people-to-people connection that transcends the politics of the normalization deal.
For the Arab states, there are also four main implications of the normalization deals
First, they anticipate the US military downsizing in the Middle East. They represent an attempt to bring Israel and certain Arab states into closer security partnership in anticipation of a less forward engaged US military in the region in the future. Indeed, the US has made a reduced military presence in the Middle East a point of emphasis since 2010. More recently, Donald Trump drew down forces from Afghanistan and Syria and was looking to draw down US forces from Iraq as well. In September 2017, there were 54,000 plus troops in the Middle East. It is widely expected that the Biden administration will seek to further downsize the US presence in the Middle East, particularly in the Gulf, in order to better focus on the Indo-Pacific region. Bahrain is the home to the American Fifth Fleet and the UAE is home to Al Dhafra Air Base. The US also maintains a substantial presence at bases in Kuwait and Qatar in the Gulf. Therefore, Bahrain and the UAE may be using the normalization agreements and the new (January 16, 2021) US designation as a "Major Security Partner", as a means to better position themselves to retain US forces/bases if and when a US downsizing occurs. Further, the "Major Security Partner" designation also suggests that the Trump administration viewed these normalization agreements as a step toward creating a new US led security architecture in the region that more explicitly connects Israel with pro-US Arab regimes. The Trump administration's incorporation of Israel into US Central Command (on January 14, 2021), whose forward command center is at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, is another indication of this intent.
Second, and relatedly, the UAE and Bahrain indeed both see Israel as an asset in confronting Iranian aggression. The normalization agreements make this anti-Iranian front more explicit, and the UAE and Bahrain may hope it will enhance deterrence vis-a-vis Iran. For Bahrain, this may be the primary reason for joining the Abraham Accords. Beyond deterrence, strategic relations with Israel prospectively create formal channels for the UAE and Bahrain to coordinate with Israel on intelligence sharing, missile defense, arms and high tech sales, and military operational coordination and support. All of these areas have important implications in the effort to confront Iran's regional expansion.
Third, these deals help the Arab states manage their relations with the US during a delicate period of intensifying Sino-American rivalry in which some of them are also expanding their relations with China. Indeed, the Israeli-Arab normalization eases this process during a period in which the UAE becomes more deeply integrated with China's financial, trade, investment, and energy markets. For example, the UAE accounts for 28% of China's non-oil trade with the region. At the same time, the UAE has been positioning itself to be a Chinese security sub-contractor in the Horn of Africa
Fourth, in many cases, the US paid a "price" to seal the normalization deal. The transactional factor was important and to the extent it is fulfilled it may be the decisive implication of the deal for each of the Arab parties. Therefore, as a whole, for the Arab states these deals were as much about the US as they were about Israel. Indeed, Morocco has been promised long sought US recognition of its sovereignty in the Western Sahara; Sudan has been lifted from US state sponsor of terrorism list and bilateral and multilateral investment will be unfrozen; and the UAE has been promised the US sale of its coveted F-35 fighter jet to the Emirates.
With which countries can we expect Israel to work towards "normalization" next?
It is probably wise to view the normalization deals as a Trump phenomenon. It is unlikely that normalizing with Israel is going to deliver the same return from the US under the Biden administration that it did during the Trump administration.