What Saudi-Iran deal means for the world?

Decades of animosity between Riyadh and Tehran changes to fraternal concord on March 10. Saudi Iran deal, brokered by China spreads like wildfire across the globe. Indubitably, this new ball game took the world by surprise with several ambiguities. In this article we will look into how countries see this sudden turn around in their interests and has this agreement created any threat to Western hegemony?

    China’s Saudi-Iran deal was purposely signed to restore Diplomatic channels between Riyadh and Tehran. Deal turns out to be opening move after official cutting of ties in 2016. Enmity between rival states adversely effected Middle East distinctively. However, deal is considered to be Diplomatic triumph for China, as it seems to be an alternative to US led world order.

Reconciliation between Riyadh and Tehran comes as fortune for Middle Eastern countries such as Yemen and Syria, countries that have been badly hit during Riyadh Tehran proxy wars.

   Yemeni people see this normalisation agreement brokered by China, as hope of armistice in Yemen.  In recent reports from Yemen,  Saudi government was in talks with Houthii Rebels , where Tehran in this peace agreement said that it supports Houthii government diplomatically but denies allegations of smuggling Houthiis with arms and armament in this long running war. Therefore Riyadh also steps back in waging any war against Houthiis. Talks of Saudi withdrawal from Yemen is also on the cards; but latest reports also indicate possibility of new ceasefire in County.

      Likewise,   Syria also  hopes Saudi Iran Peace deal will deescalate regional tensions , in particular the Civil War in Syria. Damascus welcomed re-established Diplomatic ties between the two states. Riyadh and Tehran were backing two opposite groups in Syria, causing war to exacerbate at every stage. Tehran had been main backer of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad; on the contrary Syrian rebels were supported morally and militarily by Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless; this deal brought two states on one page to put combine efforts to make this historic deal a breakthrough for Syrian people.

On the contrary, Saudi Iran rapprochement shakes up Israel. This peace accord between two regional rivals has left Israel alone in region. Israel was already working to strengthen it’s ties with wealthy and most powerful Kingdom. In his speech to Jewish leaders in America, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu described peace deal as

 “ a goal that we are working on  in parallel with a goal of stopping Iran”.

  Experts call this Saudi Iran deal as cold water thrown on Israeli ambitions. Gideon Sarr , an opposition law maker mocked Netanyahu on his dreamy diplomatic goals. He says

Netanyahu promised peace with Saudi Arabia,” he wrote on social media. “In the end (Saudi Arabia) did it … with Iran.”

         In addition, South Asia shows a deep interest  in Saudi Iran rapprochement.  Both South Asian countries India and Pakistan got opportunity to strengthen their Diplomatic ties with import gulf states.

  Pakistan is Saudi’s closest ally. Riyadh has been close partner of Islamabad, militarily  and economically . Many civil and military leaders have close relations with Saudi Kingdom. By contrast; Pakistan ties with Iran often have been at odds. Pakistan has been accusing Iran for providing safe heavens to militant groups, posing serious terror threat to Pakistan. Government of Pakistan had pitched itself on a neutral stance over Saudi Iran rival throughout these six years. However, Pakistan has always refrained itself to get very close to Tehran, to avoid Riyadh resentment. But after this peace pact between Riyadh and Tehran, it removed any Diplomatic restriction from Pakistan to restore its relations with Iran too. Nevertheless, Islamabad has always continued it’s commercial trade with Iran.

Meanwhile; India , traditionally,  is seen as balancing two gulf countries. New Delhi welcomes the pact saying that India has always been advocating table talks and diplomacy to resolve disputes and restore relations. Peace and stability in gulf region would definitely promote robust trade between gulf states and India.  India pursues robust commercial ties with Saudis as well as Iranians, in particular through energy trade. But in 2019 India had to cut down its commercial links with Iran to not violate US imposed sanctions on Iran. New Delhi support to Abraham Accord had also put India at odds with Iran. But this peace pact seems to be a new shift in Indian foreign policy toward Ayatollah’s land.

   Saudi Iran peace pact will bring opportunities for both Pakistan and India. Completion of gas pipeline project for Pakistan and Chabahar project for India. Projects seem to be economic boost for South Asia.

     Stance of central figure in international politics holds much significance. Apparently USA shows cautious optimism on Saudi-Iran deal. “We welcome the agreement between Saudi-Arab and Iran” said, John Kirby of National Security Council. Washington hopes that deal brokered by China will deescalate regional tensions and strengthen ties between gulf powerhouses. As Saudi Arabia and Iran had been conflicting parties in Yemen and Syria; also competing for influence in Lebanon and Iraq.

    In actual frame USA has two major reservations on Saudi Iran deal.  Firstly USA was already in process to make a new nuclear deal with Iran in 2021; as reported by Senior Israeli official. This news broke as Washington’s biggest weakness in Saudi Kingdom , and monarchs decided to take opening move before Washington, towards Iran. This created a major setback for USA. Secondly ,China is  meddling in Middle Eastern conflicts. Undoubtedly China is surpassing USA in almost every field but this Diplomatic win has weakened American hold in Middle East.

     In the light of facts illustrated in this article, it is eminent that Saudi Iran deal calls out for a new world order. To be more specific it is new beginning in West Asia, weakening Western hegemony. Since this deal has challenged super power’s stake in middle East , USA must be looking for new strategies for it’s strong hold in gulf region. Moreover China continues to change global order whether in form of Saudi Iran deal or coalition with Russia and Iran against Western Powers.

Zainab Imran
Zainab Imran
I am Zainab Imran. Currently pursuing degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from National Defence University Islamabad.