Well done, China for your Reconciliation Efforts in the Middle East


Taslima Hyat

This time, China is influencing Middle East diplomacy. So far, they have spread influence in Southeast and South Asia.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have finally agreed to restore diplomatic relations through their mediation. The agreement was signed between the two sides in Beijing. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been strained for seven years. China has taken initiative to strengthen that relationship. They have apparently succeeded in that.
The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia will discuss the diplomatic mission within two months. The deal has been welcomed in Iran. It was hailed by senior Iranian officials as a step to ease tensions. They think regional security will be enriched through this. Conservative media have focused on how the deal signals a defeat for the US and Israel. In 2016, when Riyadh’s diplomatic mission in Tehran was attacked. Riyadh severed political relations with Tehran. These outlets also celebrated this time. In 2016, Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia executed a top Shiite religious leader. This led to protests in Tehran. From there, the diplomatic mission in Riyadh was attacked. At that time, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei condemned the leaders of Saudi Arabia.
Since April 2021, the issue of Saudi Arabia and Iran has been discussed. Since then, no Iranian official or state media has publicly expressed disrespect or dismay at the talks. In the end, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts paid off. Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia last December. Last month, he invited Iranian President Ibrahim Raoisi.
Meanwhile, Iran and Oman hailed Friday’s progress as optimistic. They have previously served as facilitators in these discussions. And this initiative was welcomed by the United States with caution. This agreement is seen as a new positive development. This is one of many steps. I think Saudi Arabia may be more cautious about economic engagement with Iran. Because they don’t want to fall under US sanctions. It is not necessary that both parties to trust each other to normalize the relationship. De-escalating tensions in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq could serve the broader interests of both sides. The war in Yemen has been going on for eight years. Iran and Saudi Arabia are supporting opposite sides in this war. As a result, this may be the most important issue for what comes out of this deal. But it will be difficult to achieve.
Friday’s deal may ease tensions considerably. Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been simmering and mistrusted for decades. War has been going on in Yemen for a long time. Saudi Arabia is panting as this war continues. Saudi Arabia may think that by making a deal with Tehran, they will be able to make a deal with the pro-Iranian Houthis.
The internationally recognized government in Sanaa was ousted from power in 2015 by the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group. Saudi Arabia later intervened in Yemen, leading a Western-backed coalition against the Houthi rebels.
This war has created a stalemate in Yemen for the past few years. The Houthis have frequently launched missile and drone attacks into Saudi Arabia from the de facto authority of northern Yemen and areas near Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia. The Houthis are constantly trying to show their strength. After an UN-brokered ceasefire last year, Riyadh and the Houthi group resumed direct talks with Oman’s help. However, the ceasefire expired in October of that year but is still largely in effect.
The process of reaching an agreement between the Saudis and the Houthis is expected to ease the process of restoring Riyadh-Tehran relations. The Yemen war is also at the centre of tensions in the United States under President Joe Biden’s administration. The war has led to an embargo on US arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Since 2011, Iran has provided military, economic and diplomatic support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was nearly ousted by a massive crackdown on anti-government protesters.
China also maintains a position on behalf of Syria at the United Nations. The country also maintains economic and political ties with Damascus. Riyadh initially sought to weaken Tehran’s position in Syria by supporting rebels seeking to oust Assad. But Iran’s support helped Assad turn the tide of his fight. On the other hand, Saudi support has declined due to armed and political opposition in the country. The rapprochement between the Saudis and Iran came to light as Assad’s Arab separatism thawed. Saudi Arabia said Syria can return to the Arab League through negotiations. Syria’s foreign ministry welcomed the Iran-Saudi deal, calling it an “important step”. The country says the Iran-Saudi deal could boost regional stability. However, the country’s opposition parties under the umbrella of foreigners have yet to comment on the deal. The Iran-Saudi Arabia “Peace Treaty” was signed with the mediation of China. The two countries re-established diplomatic relations, moving towards mutual understanding by reopening embassies. It will affect the politics of the Middle East. Earlier, many countries tried to reconcile Iran-Saudi Arabia, but China succeeded. Through this, China’s new entry into the politics of the Middle East took place. China’s reconciliation efforts centred on the Ukraine war have already dared China to side with Russia.
To maintain China’s economic success, there was no alternative to increasing influence in world politics. For at least the past five years, China has been gradually trying to establish a guardian position in its regional and global politics. While Europe-America was tired of paying the costs of one war after another, China was quietly increasing its power. Which is being revealed now. This diplomatic-political intervention of China in three conflicting regions in three regions of the world has introduced China to world politics anew.
China’s growing influence in geopolitics and its expanding economic influence have helped it seek to build allies around the world. China has investments in various development projects in almost all countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Especially in the construction sector. Most of the so-called Third World countries now have no alternative to China’s help to keep the appearance of development that the West has created. As a result, China’s importance and influence in the world have also increased in addition to allowing America’s alienation. Apart from investment, these countries depend on China’s technical cooperation. Many countries in Asia, Africa and Europe also have trade relations with China in import and export. Besides, BRICS, One Belt Road, and Silk Road are part of China’s economic plan. In addition to Russia, Iran, etc., the enemy countries of America and Europe, many countries which are known as friendly countries of Europe and America, have also cooperated in various wars, those countries are also depending on China for economic reasons and are trying to increase their economic power with China’s cooperation. For example, Brazil and South Africa.
However, the West has turned the Middle East around by talking about democracy, human rights and peace. The Arabs are now tired of chasing peace. Amidst these, Chinese effort is appreciable. Well done China for your reconciliation efforts in the Middle East!