Foreign Affairs: How the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia mediated by China will change the Middle East?
The Foreign Affairs posted a report talking about changing in the Middle East as the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia could change the region, and that the United States can no longer simply demand that its Arab allies secede from China, and unite behind its leadership to fight Iran.
The report emphasized that the historic agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, at a Chinese initiative, has the potential to change the Middle East by realigning the major powers, and replacing the current Arab-Iranian division with a complex network of relations, which will lead to weaving the region into China’s global ambitions.
The report indicated that for China, this agreement constitutes a major leap in its competition with the United States, because the latter tried to be the mediator between the two countries, but the Saudis believed that the involvement of China was the surest for the continuation of the deal with Iran.
The report added that if the deal is fully implemented, Tehran and Riyadh will agree closely again, as according to the new agreement, the two sides will reopen embassies, and the Saudi government will end its support for the Iranian international television channel, which Tehran holds responsible for the local opposition.
In addition, the two sides, according to the Foreign Affairs report, will abide by the ceasefire in Yemen, agreed upon in April 2022, and will begin work on a formal peace agreement to end the war there.
The agreement also calls for strengthening economic and diplomatic relations between Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and for Iran and its Arab partners to start discussions on building a new regional security framework, with China continuing to supervise all of these steps.
The report notes that the Iranian-Saudi deal is likely to end one of the most important rivalries in the region, and lead to the expansion of economic relations across the Gulf, as Iran will no longer stand alone to confront the alliance of Arab regimes and Israel, which the United States hopes will carry out the difficult task of Containing Tehran.
The report considered that instead, the agreement has the ability to bring Iran closer to its Arab neighbors, and to achieve gradual stability in its relations in the region.
Saudi Arabia pledged that if things go well Alright, Saudi Arabia is ready to invest in the Iranian economy, according to recent statement made by the Saudi Minister of Finance,
After that, the Iranian president actually accepted an invitation to visit Riyadh at an unspecified date, in another indication of the two sides’ intention to strengthen relations.
These steps will have important repercussions, as first, with regard to Iran, its policies have shifted from strengthening its relationship with Europe and the United States, to strengthening its relationship with the Arab world, and it has so far restored relations with the UAE, Kuwait and now Saudi Arabia, and it has The matter extends to Bahrain and Egypt.
The report believes that Iran’s better relations with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council will reduce the threat posed by the official normalization agreements for some Arab countries, which were mediated by the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
Second, to Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is showing that if US policy doesn’t serve Saudi interests, the Saudis won’t be beholden to the coalition.
Third, with regard to China, Foreign Affairs confirms that the region is important to the Chinese Belt and Road initiative, and the development of this corridor will allow China to circumvent the Strait of Malacca, in the face of the massive fleet that the United States and its allies are building, and to advance these strategic priorities, Beijing is now preparing to challenge Washington for influence in the Middle East.
The convergence of the broader strategic interests of China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia indicates that Beijing’s penetration with Iran and Saudi Arabia is likely to serve as the basis for a new geopolitical reality in the Middle East.
This shift represents a historic challenge for the United States, as Washington can no longer simply demand that its Arab allies secede from China and unite behind its leadership to fight Iran.
The report concluded that this approach is outdated, and isn’t in line with the current needs of its allies.
As one Saudi official put it, the United States has failed to understand that we cannot be allies at the expense of our interests, as the Saudis no longer see that their interests will be served war with Iran or confrontation with China.