Tehran-Ryadh, the agreement between the former enemies displaces Netanyahu and strengthens the Chinese role in the Middle East at the expense of the US

They didn’t see them coming, as a phrase in vogue in Italy goes. Nor the Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu nor the US president Joe Biden they had received signals that two bitter enemies such as Tehran And ryad they had decided – with the guarantee of China – to reopen diplomatic relations afterwards 7 years of frost and bloody proxy wars as in Yemen. Netanyahu’s surprise was visible, visiting Rome more for the wedding anniversary than for a decent diplomatic proposal, when his national security adviser whispered the news in his ear. Israel’s dream of forming an Arab alliance against Iran was thus shattered last Friday with the news that theIran and theSaudi Arabia have agreed to restore the diplomatic relations within two months. It is certain that the announcement is charged with meaning and will redraw the map of the Middle East by redefining friend and foe and will have global reverberations. The deal gives Iran much-needed legitimacy in the Arab world and could lead to further deals with Arab states like Egypt after those with Kuwait And Abu Dhabilead the way to the end of the war in the Yemenoffer a viable solution to the crisis in Lebanon and even lead to a resumption of negotiations to save the agreement with theWest on the nuclear.

Last week the Wall Street Journal had written that Saudi Arabia had asked for guarantees of security and assistance to the United States to build its civilian nuclear program as a condition of normalizing ties between the Arab kingdom and Israel. But the US Congress has blocked such assistance. So it seems that Saudi Arabia has quickly found a solution in China, with which it signed a memorandum for the construction of a nuclear reactor in 2017. In any case, the Saudis have posed a serious dilemma for the United States: help Saudi Arabia with its civilian nuclear program and potentially win its support for a deal with Israel or let China reap the economic and political rewards.

Taking credit for concluding a peace deal in Middle Eastthe Chinese president Xi is taking advantage of declining American influence in the region and presenting Chinese leadership as an alternative to an order led by Washington which he describes as leading the world to a new “cold war”. Xi’s vision is to wrest power from Washington in favor of multilateralism and so-called non-interference, a word China uses to argue that nations should not meddle in each other’s internal affairs, criticizing human rights violations, to example. China is also interested in the stability of the region. Beijing receives over 40% of its crude oil imports from the region. Furthermore, the Gulf has emerged as a key node along the trade routes of the Belt and Road Initiativeas well as a major market for Chinese consumer goods and technology. The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei provides 5G networks in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Beijing has also tried to emphasize a plan called Global Security Initiative, first introduced by Xi a year ago, which he describes as an effort to apply “Chinese wisdom and solutions” to the world’s biggest security challenges. The initiative, which echoes Mao-era parlance about promoting “peaceful coexistence,” calls for a new paradigm in which global power is distributed more equally and the world rejects “unilateralism, confrontation between blocs and ‘hegemonism’ – a clear reference to the United States and military alliances such as NATO. China has become an important strategic ally of Iran, with which it has signed a $400 million economic cooperation agreement over 25 years. But both China and Iran know that realizing their alliance’s potential depends on the signing of a new nuclear deal. China has entered the fray as a mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia to build an alliance that serves the interests of all three without needing the services or assurances of the United States. More importantly, China is taking the place of the United States as an economic and strategic power in the region. A power over which Israel has decidedly little influence. Benjamin Netanyahu, who has based all of his policy in recent years by raising the specter of Iran to obtain arms from the USA, which in 2012/2013, again as prime minister, was one step away from bombing Iranian nuclear sites, suddenly finds himself without enemy, with a country in revolt over the “coup” laws it wants to impose with its ultra-right allies and the West Bank in flames due to the continuous army operations against the new Palestinian armed groups. “Tha Magician”, as his worshipers call him, this time he may no longer find the rabbit in the top hat.

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