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The Iran-Saudi Deal and China’s Diplomatic Coup in the Middle East

n the picture published by Al-Jazeera, Shamkhani and Ayban are seen shaking hands with smiles. And China’s senior diplomat Wan Yi is standing between the two, suddenly as if there is a glimpse of change in the geopolitical climate of the Middle East After seven years, Iran and Saudi Arabia once again announced the establishment of diplomatic relations

24-05-2023
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In the picture published by Al-Jazeera, Shamkhani and Ayban are seen shaking hands with smiles. And China’s senior diplomat Wan Yi is standing between the two, suddenly as if there is a glimpse of change in the geopolitical climate of the Middle East After seven years, Iran and Saudi Arabia once again announced the establishment of diplomatic relations. China has mediated the sudden announcement of restoration of Iran-Saudi relations. Many are calling the new twist in Iran-Saudi relations a silent diplomatic coup by China in the region. As a result, the talk that the influence of the United States in the politics of the Middle East has begun to decrease, has become clearer. Many are saying that this is the beginning of the end for the United States in the Middle East. It might be an exaggeration to call it the beginning of the end. However, in this incident, Israel’s security will be at risk again.
In 2016, Iran-Saudi bitterness started over the execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The Saudi side alleged that Iran’s Shias were openly trying to create political unrest. Following Sheikh Nimr’s execution, Iranians attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran and Iran-Saudi relations ended.
Since then, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been facing each other in Arab politics. The rivalry between these two countries was evident everywhere in Yemen and Iraq. Saudi Arabia is supporting the government of Yemen. And Iran is supporting the Houthi rebels. These two countries have a strong role behind the political unrest in Iraq as well.
The failure of the US and the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia can be a relief for the Middle East countries. Because the two countries were trying to increase their influence in different Arab countries. will still be But the compromise could change the dimensions of the rivalry. But in the end, if the relationship between Iran and Saudi warms up, China will benefit the most. China has adopted Russia’s hideout strategy to bring peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
China sat in Beijing with these two countries in a diplomatic struggle. And for now China has succeeded. Both countries will open embassies in the next two months. Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, and Mossad bin Muhammad Al-Aiban, Advisor to Saudi Arabia’s National Security Council, signed the MoU. In the picture published by Al-Jazeera, Shamkhani and Ayban are seen shaking hands with smiles. And China’s senior diplomat Wan Yi is standing between the two.
Sometimes a picture says a thousand words together. This picture can be analysed in this way - this time, China wants to move forward with Iran and Saudi Arabia in occupying the Middle East. Through this, China’s involvement in Arab politics will deepen. China’s success may extend to world politics. Perhaps the Middle Eastern countries were searching for intermediaries, as was China. This was the first time that a country other than the United States or Europe was seen as an intermediary in Middle East politics. Not even Russia.
The West has turned the Middle East around by talking about democracy, human rights and peace. The Arabs are now tired of chasing peace. China itself is not a democratic state. China has also been accused of human rights violations. China has increasingly emerged as the protector of authoritarian and authoritarian rulers in various countries. But Middle Eastern countries want to get out of the US-Israeli security plan. In this situation, China’s effective presence in the Middle East will provide new bargaining opportunities for the Arab countries. The Arabs can talk about their interests with the US, Israel and China. Because, they have multiple alternative opportunities now.
On the whole, the singular authority that the United States had for so long as the so-called peacekeeper in the Middle East, will now be greatly reduced. And the credibility of the United States as a peacekeeper in the region will diminish. In particular, the Abraham Accord to normalize Arab relations with Israel was a big blow. Under this agreement, Morocco, Sudan, United Arab Emirates have normalized diplomatic relations, but Saudi Arabia has not yet established diplomatic relations with Israel. One of the security threats to Saudi Arabia is Iran. A deal with Iran and China’s arms guarantees would reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on the United States.
It should be noted that Iran-Saudi relations did not exist before. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed for only eight years. But the renegotiation will give Saudi Arabia the opportunity to bargain hard with the US on Israel. Saudi Arabia has already started it. In exchange for recognition of Israel, the agreement stipulated an aid and security agreement to carry out a peaceful nuclear program. The US cannot put more pressure on Saudi Arabia now. Because, if pressured, the Saudis will lean more towards China. Saudi Arabia’s nuclear power would pose a grave threat to Israel’s security. Israel is already worried about Iran’s nuclear program. So Israel would not want a new nuclear power to emerge in the Middle East.
The failure of the US and the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia can be a relief for the Middle East countries. Because the two countries were trying to increase their influence in different Arab countries. The failure of the US and the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia can be a relief for the Middle East countries. Because the two countries were trying to increase their influence in different Arab countries.
As a result, it is understood that the tripartite agreement of Iran-China-Saudi will complicate the politics of the Middle East and favor the Arabs. It remains to be seen how much the Arabs can take advantage of. But there has been no good news for the United States for some time. Ukraine could not benefit from the war either. Nothing works in this war. Weapons, media propaganda, speeches, statements, sanctions and the United Nations cannot recover Ukraine’s lost ground. In the meantime, pictures of Iran and Saudi Arabia have been published through the mediation of China. This is a major diplomatic disaster for the United States.
After military disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine, US diplomacy also faced a major setback in civilian diplomacy in the Arab world. It was convenient for the US to maintain the Iran-Saudi conflict for a long time. It not only failed to do so, but also completely failed to anticipate the issue of compromise.
The failure of the US and the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia can be a relief for the Middle East countries. Because the two countries were trying to increase their influence in different Arab countries. Will still be but the compromise could change the dimensions of the rivalry. But in the end, if the relationship between Iran and Saudi warms up, China will benefit the most. China has adopted Russia’s hideout strategy to bring peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Russia sat in Astana with Türkiye and Iran to deal with the war in Syria. The Astana accord turned the tide of the Syrian war and saved Syria from becoming Libya and Iraq. Likewise, an Iran-Saudi deal with China’s presence could change Middle East politics.
The author of this article is a Young Researcher & Columnist, graduated from the Department of International Relations, University of Chittagong
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Athar Noor
The author of this article is a young researcher and political analyst
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