Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States promised not only a shift in U.S. domestic policies but also a return to Obama’s chapter in Washington’s foreign strategy. Biden’s victory in the 2020 elections was especially anticipated in Teheran, which had experienced years of relentless economic pressure by the previous administration in Washington. However, more than a year has passed since Biden arrived into the White House, but the JCPOA still lies on the verge of a complete collapse.
Despite experts remaining consistently optimistic about the ongoing negotiations in Vienna, few—if any—tangible results have been delivered so far. But, while the negotiations have more or less been stalled, the simultaneous advancement of Iran’s nuclear program has been very much active, approaching the milestone of accumulating enriched uranium enough for a functioning nuclear device with every passing week.
Therefore, the U.S. faces a dilemma as it has to decide just how many concessions it is ready to offer to Teheran to convince it that the JCPOA is worth another try. Iran, however, is not very inclined to soften the position of its own.
Time is not on Washington’s side
There is a good chance that the U.S. will have to take a more flexible stance on the JCPOA and related issues, since time is working against Washington. The previous administration had vastly miscalculated the economic implications of the “maximum pressure campaign” it unilaterally imposed upon Iran. Trump’s administration in its typical manner believed that upon facing significant financial damage, the leadership in Teheran would choose to compromise rather than persist in its ambitions in the Middle East. Likewise, Washington seemed to believe that should the government insist on maintaining its policy despite the economic pressure, the country’s population would eventually overthrow the regime in Teheran or put enough domestic pressure on it to agree to certain concessions in the very least (although U.S. officials formally denied seeking a regime change in Iran).
However, this assumption proved to be completely disconnected from reality on the ground. Not only did Iran manage to hold the domestic unrest in check, but also the nation was very much capable of maintaining a functioning economy even under the “maximum pressure campaign”. Subsequently, the U.S. practically failed to force Iran to cave in through economic pressure, while lacking a feasible plan B to walk out of the crisis on acceptable terms. Right now, Washington is finding itself between a rock and a hard place as it can no longer expect the sanction regime to do the job and force Iran to make concessions, but the White House is still very reluctant to start even a limited military campaign in the Middle East to effectively destroy some of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Meanwhile, Teheran is not sitting idly. Instead, the country is gradually developing its nuclear potential, both increasing its weight in the Vienna negotiations and approaching the amount of radioactive resources it needs to create a nuclear weapon. As of May 2022, the U.S. continues to refuse to look at the situation realistically and seems determined to force Teheran to withdraw some of its demands. Eventually, however, Biden will have to see that the situation is hardly developing in his favour, and the current political climate in the world is only making it easier for Iran to continue standing its ground.
Dealing with Iran in the shadow of the Ukrainian crisis
The prospects of the JCPOA’s salvation are largely informed by the current crisis in Ukraine, which can both complicate and accelerate the renegotiation of the nuclear deal. For the U.S., the developing conflict has become the primary concern in its foreign policy, forcing Washington to pay less attention to both Teheran and Beijing. Washington’s most burning objectives are currently twofold—curtailing Moscow’s economic power as much as possible and ensuring Ukraine manages to preserve its sovereignty. Both are hugely dependent on the U.S. ability to manipulate the world petroleum prices and the amount of Russia’s oil and gas exports.
Economic pressure on Moscow is (among other factors) largely sustained by the prices of gas and oil, whose export is a crucial component of Russia’s economy. Therefore, one of Washington’s primary efforts is centered around minimizing the amount of petroleum Moscow can offer to the global market, while lowering the oil prices simultaneously, which had recently experienced an abrupt surge.
While there are several ways of doing that, Iran probably offers the most straightforward option. Should the JCPOA become a reality again in its 2015 form and the sanctions on Teheran’s resources be lifted, the world market will receive a substantial influx of Iran’s resources. As a result, even if the amounts of petroleum Moscow sells worldwide remains roughly the same, it will not be able to receive the same revenue due to the global price changes. Of course, it is hard to expect this to happen swiftly—even if the parties reach an agreement on the nuclear issue in the near future, it will still take some time to reintegrate Iran back into the world petroleum market. However, the market is quick to react to such developments, and the shift in oil prices could very well occur much sooner than the actual transfer of resources.
Moreover, the huge reserves of gas and oil Iran boasts of can become a viable alternative for the EU countries, many of which are having doubts about the prospects of importing petroleum from Russia and are actively looking for other sources. Thus, the demand of the EU countries could potentially be met with the offer of the Islamic Republic, which is very eager to find new partners it could sell its oil and gas to. Prior to the imposition of the sanction regime by the U.S., Iran enjoyed a number of trading partners—both in the EU and in the Middle East—that are looking forward to diversifying their gas and oil supply by trading with Teheran. The only thing they need is the lifting of the sanctions by Washington. This could fractionally offset the damage done by the partial stop of the petroleum delivery to the EU countries from Russia as well as accommodate their aim of gradually decreasing their reliance on Russia’s gas and oil.
JCPOA or war
Moreover, the ongoing conflict significantly decreases the amount of options Washington has in dealing with Teheran and its nuclear program. Should they fail to reach compromise in the coming months, Iran could very well set its cause on developing a full-blown nuclear weapon as fast as possible. In that case, the U.S. will have two options only—either let it happen, essentially triggering another regional (or even global) crisis of nuclear proliferation, or opt for a military operation against the country’s nuclear facilities. However, a limited military operation is almost impossible to imagine: To effectively curtail nuclear developments in Iran, the U.S. and their allies would have to conduct a full-scale campaign involving the use of aircraft and missile strikes.
In this scenario, the conflict is unlikely to stay solely within Iran’s borders, but will almost inevitable spill over to the entirety of the Middle East with largely unpredictable consequences. Such a war would not only constitute a giant burden to everybody involved but will also spark a financial crisis for the entire world. Needless to say, the U.S. fully understands this and is not likely to engage in direct warfare against Iran even as a last resort to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. America’s resources and attention being held up in Ukraine right now only complicates the prospects of Washington undertaking any military action in the Middle East.
However, one should mention that there is a possibility of the U.S. being dragged into the conflict against its own will. Israel views Iran as an existential threat, and the development of a nuclear weapon in the Islamic Republic is a redline many believe Tel Aviv will not let Teheran cross. Seeing that the country is dangerously close to accumulating enough radioactive materials for a bomb, Israel might opt to carry out several military strikes against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure or try to sabotage it in another way. This in turn will force Teheran to respond, sparkling a regional conflict the U.S. will have to become a part of in one way or another.
However, this scenario is much less likely to happen today than it was a year or two ago. Both Israel and the U.S. have gone through a change of leadership, and their bilateral ties as well as foreign policies are not the same they were before the 2020 elections. With Netanyahu leaving office, Tel Aviv is no longer as radical in its policies against Iran and is far more reluctant to use a military option of curtailing Iran’s nuclear program. Likewise, Biden’s perception of Israel’s role among the U.S. allies has experienced a negative change as well and Washington is no longer bound to support Tel Aviv in any military campaign it decides to embark upon against the Islamic Republic. Israel has a clear understanding of this and is unlikely to regard a war against Iran as a favourable option.
Who will have to take responsibility?
Another point for the U.S. to consider are the implications of the complete failure of the JCPOA and its consequences to Biden and, more importantly, to the Democratic Party. While it is true that the collapse of the deal should mostly be attributed to Trump’s administration, since it was their strategy to renegotiate the deal, today the responsibility largely lies with the Democratic Party. Biden’s election campaign promises included the salvation of the JCPOA, which is not as imminent now as it used to be a year ago. Besides, should any kind of conflict take place between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic, it will almost certainly be blamed on Biden’s administration and their failure to find a compromise with Teheran, even despite the previous administration creating the conditions for such failure.
The Democrats are already standing in for a lot of criticism for their domestic and foreign policies, with the current crisis in Ukraine set to only complicate both. The revival of the JCPOA at least in some form that would prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon is likely to be presented to the public as a huge political victory that has made it possible to avoid another catastrophic conflict in the Middle East. Failing to achieve this will be a significant setback for Democrats’ chances of winning the 2022 and 2024 elections. All the consequences of this fiasco will be attributed to them, and if Iran manages to construct a nuclear weapon, the Republicans will use it as a talking point in proving their aggressive strategy against Teheran to be the only possible way of dealing with it. Thus, reanimating the nuclear deal is crucial for the Biden administration even if it will eventually have to make some painful concessions.
The ball is still in Washington’s court
Despite the situation getting more and more urgent with every passing week, the U.S. still looks reluctant to make more concessions to Teheran. For Washington giving in to any new significant demands would be catastrophic mainly from the political point of view. Delisting IRGC as a terrorist organization is more of a symbolical move that is not very likely to significantly empower the militant organization. Likewise, accepting Iran’s quest of revenge for the death of Soleimani, Iran’s assassinated top general, probably won’t take the shape of any real moves against the U.S. on Iran’s part. Teheran simply cannot afford to give up on their promise of retaliation since that would be a political suicide. However, it is very unlikely they will ever actually attempt what they threaten.
Nevertheless, conceding to either will be a huge blow to Biden and his administration from the political perspective—both the general population and many Congressmen will accuse the White house of being too weak in dealing with Iran to the point of agreeing to delist a terrorist group just to appease Teheran. That is a price Biden is not yet willing to pay, hoping Teheran will eventually drop some of the demands and allow him to save face. This hesitation, however, can cost the world dearly, since the ball is currently in the U.S. court with Biden refusing to acknowledge it.
The general idea in Washington seems to be that Iran is not really planning to create a nuclear bomb, but rather uses its nuclear program as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the U.S. to extract more concessions. This might be true, but it is also a risk the world cannot afford to take.
The intentions of the leadership in Teheran might as well be completely opposite, especially in the light of the assassination of an Iranian general carried out by the U.S. in early 2020. That operation demonstrated Washington’s total disregard for its adversaries as long as they didn’t have nuclear weapons for a potential retaliation. Whence Iran could actually be embarking on a path to obtaining a nuclear weapon and prolonging the negotiations to be able to accumulate more radioactive materials to the point of becoming a nuclear threshold state. Therefore, it is crucial for the U.S. to reach some sort of agreement with Teheran as soon as possible in order to minimize the chances of Iran turning nuclear in the near future.
Since the strategy pushing Iran to drop some of its demands is apparently not working, agreeing to some symbolic, although politically painful concessions, might be the only way for the U.S. to make sure the Islamic Republic does not acquire a nuclear weapon. While being far from what Washington had initially expected, this would answer the main concern the world has today about Iran—prevent it from going nuclear. This will not be an ideal agreement, but Washington has to set its priorities straight. The risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons should overrule most other concerns of the U.S. regarding the Islamic Republic and its policies.
From our partner RIAC
Suez Canal: Enhancing alignment between Belt and Road and Egypt Vision 2030
The location of the Suez Canal Economic Zone plays an effective role at the heart of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, ensuring a permanent strategic partnership between the two sides, to enhance the concept of the role of economic corridors and ports in development for the benefit of all parties. This brings us to a fundamental point, which is the importance of integration between ports and industrial areas, such as the Suez Canal, as the most prominent model for this, as a model of cooperation that is the most distinguished in the entire world within the framework of the relationship between the Suez Canal corridor and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, in order to advance the development wheel for all its parties, and open endless horizons in front of various investments. We find that the Suez Canal is a major gateway for Chinese products to enter African, European, Arab, and American markets, due to its strategic location on the Red Bahrain and the Mediterranean, passing through the Suez Canal. Therefore, it serves the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, and this will be greatly reflected after the completion of development work in the Port of Sokhna in Suez, which will become one of the pivotal ports in the Red Sea and a fulcrum for serving international trade within the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
The Suez Canal is considered the main station and the main sea corridor for the sea route of the Belt and Road Initiative, which focuses on linking the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, in addition to the land link between China and Europe, given that the sea road of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative extends from the (South China to the Strait of Mule, the Indian Ocean, the Horn of Africa, the Strait of Bab al-Mandab, all the way to the Suez Canal).
For this reason, the State of China, in light of the globalization system and the new global economic order that it is trying to strengthen to serve the interests of mainly African and developing countries, seeks to launch many global initiatives, the most important of which is the “Belt and Road Initiative”, which allows it to cooperate with its strategic partners within the framework of that. The initiative, led by Egypt, and within this framework, China officially signed a document of cooperation with the Suez Canal Economic Zone, and participation in the establishment of many industries and infrastructure projects cooperation between China and Egypt through the Egyptian Suez Canal corridor within the framework of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative does not only aim for the material part related to investments and projects, but also aims to build human values, which the initiative aims to build a better world that shares those values and seeks to build international relations based on peace. Achieving comprehensive development for all sectors, as well as working to bring peace instead of violence. As the world seeks to achieve comprehensive development, it either takes place within a framework of cooperation or pursues an aggressive policy that does not build but rather destroys entire civilizations.
The Egyptian Suez Canal plays a major role in increasing cooperation in the areas of trade exchange, localization of industry, and the transfer of Chinese technology and energy to Egypt. As the main goal of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is to support the economy and intra-state trade between countries, facilitate trade, and extend communications lines, stressing that the initiative includes extending cable, communications, Internet, and maritime digitization lines, explaining that Egypt is one of the countries in the world through which most submarine cables, digitization, and digital pass. Egypt represents a very important number and has its weight in the initiative, taking into account the Suez Canal, and the importance of the geographical location, as it connects the east to the west and the north to the south, in addition to the Suez Canal axis, as it represents an added value to the Suez Canal as well as the initiative, which relies heavily on the Suez Canal, in addition to Establishment of the Chinese industrial zone and the Russian economic zone in the Suez Canal. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative relies primarily on the concept of economic corridors for development, given that the Suez Canal is the most important and prominent international shipping corridor that directly links the three continents to which the initiative countries belong the economic zone surrounding the Suez Canal has been planned according to a future vision that takes into account Taking into account the various dimensions of the expected future development in maritime transport traffic and rates of international trade.
Here, Egypt and China can cooperate on the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative in many ways. The Belt and Road Initiative differs from other economic blocs in that it is the first of its kind to link trade with development. Egypt is also an important partner in building the Belt and Road. The Chinese side is keen to enhance the alignment between the Belt and Road Initiative and Egypt’s Vision 2030. China supports the Egyptian side in advancing the pace of industrialization, enhancing scientific and technological capacity, and raising the level of development, in addition to deepening cooperation in the field of security and law enforcement between the two countries, in a way that maintains the common security to them. The Chinese side is also keen to enhance coordination and cooperation with the Egyptian side in international affairs to work together to support and implement multilateralism, reject the tendency of unilateralism and bullying, and ensure the correct direction of global governance reforms. The Egyptian side plays an effective role within the framework of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum and the China-Africa Cooperation Forum.
The list of Chinese companies investing in Egypt includes Sino Tharwa Drilling, Shamal International Petroleum, TEDA Investment, Jushi Egypt for Fiberglass Manufacturing, Huawei Technology, and Conco Technology. In addition to a large number of projects implemented by some Chinese companies under the direct contracting system, among the most prominent Chinese projects being implemented are: the Financial and Business District project in the New Administrative Capital, The TEDA-Suez zone for Chinese-Egyptian economic cooperation and the electric train project in 10th of Ramadan City. In addition to financing (Exim Bank of China) the implementation of a railway project to connect Cairo to the New Administrative Capital at a cost of more than one and a half billion dollars.
Therefore, China seeks to expand its investments in the Suez Canal region, especially as an important axis of development. The region also represents an important link and plays a prominent role in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, especially in light of the implementation of the ambitious development plan aimed at establishing development projects in the Suez Canal axis, including logistical services in a way that represents a good opportunity for cooperation between the two sides in many fields, especially technology and infrastructure in approximately 6 ports and two integrated regions, in addition to the role of the Suez Canal axis in enhancing Chinese-Egyptian economic cooperation, and making Egypt a starting point for the Arab and African markets, by virtue of Egypt’s membership in the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement and the COMESA Economic Community of Eastern and Southern African Countries.
The Suez Canal axis has special importance within the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, especially in light of the services provided by the Suez Canal Economic Zone, to support global trade movement through its ports, most notably ship bunkering services with green fuel, in addition to the role of Chinese companies in the region’s ports and the Suez Canal, such as: (Hutchison, COSCO and CMA Alliance), which is responsible for managing and operating one of the berths in the port of Ain Sokhna in the Suez Canal axis, with investments estimated at more than 600 million dollars, within the framework of the effective role that the Suez Canal plays in attracting Chinese investments in the sectors of financial services, logistics, and ports. Therefore, cooperation between many Chinese provinces and cities and the Suez Canal Economic Zone has been strengthened in this context. The Chinese company TEDA aims to promote its industrial zone in Ain Sokhna, in addition to investment opportunities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone to various Chinese companies, and to enhance cooperation with the Suez Canal Economic Zone in Egypt as an economic ally of great importance to Chinese investments.
In order to strengthen Chinese-Egyptian cooperation within the framework of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, China seeks to expand the base of cooperation with Egypt, so that it will be a starting point for Chinese-African cooperation, and Chinese participation in enhancing the economic development and political stability of the countries of the continent, especially in light of the material globalization system and the inability of the peoples. Which is still at the beginning of the development process of keeping pace with the global movement and the rapid transition towards globalization, and therefore the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative targets developing countries in order to work to enhance their economic cooperation and raise the standard of living for the peoples of those regions.
Accordingly, we find that all the elements of success are available for the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, as it started from a comprehensive development concept that addresses emerging and emerging economies, and aims to enhance cooperation with many international financial institutions, as well as economic blocs and organizations, such as: (ASEAN, BRICS, the European Union, the World Trade Organization), and others.
The Meeting of Sisi with Li Shi
The meeting between Egyptian President “Abdel Fattah El-Sisi” and a high-level Chinese delegation, headed by Li Qi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, came as a confirmation of the Chinese-Egyptian efforts to work together within the framework of the principle of mutual benefit between the two parties and the common destiny of humanity established by the Chinese President “Xi Jinping”. The importance of the visit of the senior Chinese official in the Communist Party “Li Shi” comes to present the Chinese side’s point of view to Egyptian President “El-Sisi” regarding the joint agreement between China and Egypt to contribute positively to confronting the challenges facing the international community, especially developing and African countries, and to enhance joint international collective action towards a shift to international multipolarity away from the concept of American hegemony, in a way that preserves international peace and stability, and pushes towards reforming the international financial governance system.
Also, the significance and timing of this visit by the Chinese official, Li Shi, and his meeting with President “Abdel Fattah El-Sisi” prior to President El-Sisi’s participation in the “Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” summit in the capital (Beijing) at the end of October 2023, it carries more than one political connotation, whether at the bilateral Egyptian-Chinese level, or for this summit in which hundreds of heads of state and government around the world participate. Therefore, this visit by “Li Qi” comes in preparation for the participation of Egypt and President “El-Sisi” in the Chinese international Belt and Road Conference, including… It has positive effects and great gains for the benefit of Cairo and Beijing in various fields, especially the economic field.
During his visit to Cairo and his meeting with President “El-Sisi”, Chinese Communist Party official “Li Shi” confirmed the readiness of the Chinese side to work with the Egyptian side in order to implement the agreements reached by the presidents of the two countries (El- Sisi and Xi Jinping) in a good way, and to consolidate mutual trust at the political level and enhance Aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with Egypt’s Vision 2030, expanding practical cooperation, intensifying communication, cooperation and coordination in international and regional affairs, and working together to defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and advancing the democratization of international relations. Especially with China’s full understanding of the situation in the Middle East with the complex changes and turmoil it is witnessing, which has negatively affected security and development in the Middle East region, hence China’s keenness to launch (the five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East), which is an initiative that focuses on maintaining stability and bringing peace to the region.
Here, the visit of Chinese official “Li Shi” to Cairo comes as a culmination of the joint Chinese-Egyptian efforts to achieve many positive results regarding the joint construction of the Belt and Road. Especially since Chinese-Egyptian relations have become a model of solidarity, cooperation, mutual benefit and mutual gain between China and Egypt and between Arab and African countries and developing countries under the leadership of the presidents of the two countries. The Chinese side also confirmed China’s readiness to work with the Egyptian side to implement the agreements reached by the presidents of the two countries (El-Sisi and Xi Jinping) in a good manner, consolidate mutual trust at the political level, and enhance the alignment between the Belt and Road Initiative and Egypt’s Vision 2030 to expand practical cooperation and intensifying communication, cooperation and coordination in international and regional affairs, and working together to defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and advancing the democratization of international relations, by emphasizing that China’s permanent membership in the UN Security Council and its being the largest developing country in the world serves Egyptian goals and interests. Egypt is also a large Arab and African country and an important emerging economy, so under the current circumstances, the strategic and comprehensive nature of Chinese-Egyptian relations is highlighted.
It is necessary to analyze the temporal context of the visit of Chinese official “Li Shi” to Cairo, which stems from China’s understanding of the Egyptian role in networking the issues of the African continent and regional and international powers, with China’s view of Egypt as China’s gateway to the African continent, and this view is a constant feature in Chinese political discourse in In light of the fact that Egypt was one of the first African countries to recognize China. Egypt also adopts an integrated strategy for development and regional integration of the African continent, in addition to maintaining fruitful and close cooperation relations with all international partners, including China, in a way that serves this Egyptian strategy, especially in the fields of transportation and infrastructure within the framework of its projects with the Chinese side in the Suez Canal axis and the New Administrative Capital.
Here, President “El-Sisi” always affirms Egypt’s desire to learn from China’s successful experience in development, align its development plan with the Belt and Road Initiative, and deepen bilateral cooperation in a wide range of fields. In addition to President El-Sisi’s keenness to attend Belt and Road forums for international cooperation, which reflects Egypt’s desire to actively participate in the joint construction of the Belt and Road, which also represents a common voice for African countries to achieve mutual benefit and common development. Egypt and China succeeded in integrating the Egyptian road and port network within the Belt and Road Initiative, which prompted the development and operation of the industrial zone in Ain Sokhna near the Suez Canal, called the TEDA Chinese Industrial Zone.
The joint meetings between high-level delegations between Egypt and China stem from Egypt’s interest in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and its projects in Cairo, as the Chinese initiative addresses vital sectors and areas of priority for Egypt within the framework of Egypt’s Vision 2030. Therefore, President Sisi’s visits to China, which reached six visits to China in five years, indicate the tireless effort of President “El-Sisi” and the practical and presidential diplomacy of Egypt, as President “El-Sisi” has become a friend of the Chinese people in a short time as he seeks to create a new and better future for Egypt within the framework of its relationship with China.
Here we can reach the conclusion that the tireless efforts of the Chinese and Egyptian sides within the framework of joint construction of the Belt and Road strengthen the rapprochement, understanding and mutual benefit of the two open and peace-loving countries. For example, the Suez Zone for economic and trade cooperation between China and Egypt has reaped great benefits, as it has hosted more than 77 companies with huge investments exceeding one billion dollars. The zone established by the Chinese TEDA company also contributed to creating more than 30,000 job opportunities for the Egyptian side, in addition to achieving tax revenues worth one billion Egyptian pounds for the Egyptian side. In addition to China’s major role in the construction projects of the New Administrative Capital and the launch of major infrastructure projects in Egypt, where Chinese companies always play a distinguished role, as a result of the mutual trust between the two countries. Therefore, Chinese President “Xi Jinping” is always keen to invite President “El-Sisi” to attend the international summits hosted by Beijing, such as the BRICS summit and the G20 summit, in addition to the China-Africa summit, based on China’s appreciation of the regional and international standing it enjoys. Egypt, as well as Egyptian interest in relations with Beijing, in light of Egypt’s trend towards strengthening its relations with important powers in East Asia, especially China.
Behind Closed Doors: The Startling Repercussion of Saudi-Israeli Alliance
The media is fervently fueling the narrative that Saudi Arabia and Israel are on the brink of normalizing relations, a development that the United States is investing tremendous resources to realize. However, the certainty of this deal coming to fruition remains in the hands of time. Nevertheless, any such shift will undoubtedly send shockwaves throughout the region. Advocates worldwide argue that this potential alliance could usher in a new era of coherence and peace in the Middle East. Yet, the looming consequences of such a deal could cast a dark shadow over the region, hinting at turbulent times ahead.
To delve deeper into the complexities of the Middle East, it’s crucial to understand the historical penetration and influence of the US and Israel in the region. This background provides a critical context for interpreting current events and potential development. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter embarked on a mission to underscore the Unites State’s immense influence in the Middle East. He saw Israel and Egypt as instrumental to his objectives and invited their leaders to establish normalized relations through a series of agreements that would later be known as the Camp David Accords. The underlying premise of these accords was to restore peace and stability in the region, address the Palestinian issues, and foster harmonious relations between Israel and the Arab states. However, instead of ushering in an era of tranquility and stability, the Middle East was plunged into a vortex of instability and war following this penetration.
The Iran-Iraq war, the US invasion of Iraq, and the subsequent instability that has plagued the region can largely be traced back to the deep-seated influence and intervention of the US and Israel. This penetration, characterized by strategic alliances and political maneuvering, has left indelible marks on the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East. The ripple effects of these actions have not only sparked conflicts but also contributed to a climate of uncertainty and volatility. This complex web of relations and its repercussions continue to shape the region’s dynamics, underscoring the far-reaching impact of foreign intervention.
Yet, this penetration also unleashed a cascade of complications. These included the exacerbation of sectarian tension, the rise of terrorism, the onset of revolts, rampant corruption, widespread violations of human rights, and regional instability. These multifaceted issues underscore the intricate dynamics at play in the Middle East.
When examining the annals of history, we find that the narrative of the US and Israel are marred by bloodshed, occupation, and intervention. Given this backdrop, one might question how normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia could possibly transform the region’s longstanding instability from a conflict formation to a security regime. Can the myriad of problems that have plagued the region for decades simply vanish overnight? That is to say; even if the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel is seen as inevitable, it does not necessarily promise peace and stability in the region. On the contrary, it could potentially exacerbate sectarian divisions and fuel proxy wars. The complexities of regional politics and longstanding religious and ethnic tensions mean that any shift in alliances or partnerships could have unpredictable consequences.
Moreover, the proposed deal to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel is steeped in controversy. While there is a possibility that the agreement may come to fruition, it is expected to include a mutual defense treaty, a security guarantee, assistance in developing Saudi Arabia’s own civilian nuclear program, and decreased restrictions on US arms sales to Saudi Arabia. This could potentially include lifting the ban on selling F-35 fighter jets or other advanced weapons.
However, if Saudi Arabia acquires such advanced weaponry and nuclear capabilities, will it truly foster peace and stability? Or did it instead destabilize the region in unprecedented ways? Or could it be that the potential deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia hinges solely on the exchange of weaponry? Regardless of the underlying motivations, the transfer of nuclear capabilities from the US to Saudi Arabia could potentially perpetuate the cycle of militarization rather than offering solutions to the region’s longstanding rivalry.
The recent reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, facilitated by China, could be undermined by the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. It was hoped that the reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia would transform the region’s security architecture (a change that has been broadly felt across the region). However, this progress could be jeopardized and provoke a more potent reaction from Iran. Iran has explicitly stated that the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel is not only a betrayal of Palestinian causes but also a catalyst for regional instability.
Thus, Saudi Arabia stands at a crossroads, with the weight of a monumental decision pressing heavily upon its shoulders. The whisper of the populace echoes through the Kingdom, with reports indicating that over 60% of Saudis are against the idea of normalizing relations with Israel; their voices, filled with apprehension and uncertainty, cannot be ignored.
As a beacon of power in the region, Saudi Arabia’s actions could sway its allies, potentially coercing them into a similar normalization with Israel. This could send ripples through the delicate balance of regional stability, especially given Iran’s vehement opposition to any country in the region forging ties with Israel.
The Middle East, once a simmering cauldron of proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia, had restored some semblance of control with the resumption of ties between these two countries. However, if Saudi Arabia normalizes relations with Israel, we will witness a chilling new conflict. A solitary Iran pitted against an alliance of Israel and Saudi Arabia could ignite a firestorm that engulfs the region. The potential consequences are dire and could cast a long, unending shadow over the region, plunging it into an abyss from which recovery may be impossible. The specters of such a future are a poignant reminder of the high stakes involved and the careful consideration required before taking such a step.
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