For decades the US has had considerable influence in the Middle East especially in the 70s when Carter helped broker the agreement between Israel and Egypt which made the possibility of a peace in the region possible…..but that hope was dashed on the rocks of disappointment with the election of Reagan in 1980.
It seems that since 1980 our influence has been sliding off the scale.
Are we being replaced?
You decide….in March it was announced the China had brokered a deal between Saudi and Iran that could end centuries of alienation….
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been exploring improving relations for the past few years. The feelers began with talks in 2020 and grew into several meetings in Iraq and Oman. In 2021, the two announced that Iran had resumed exports to Saudi Arabia, and Iran broached the idea of reopening consulates in each other’s countries and re-establishing diplomatic ties.
Both the Iranian and Saudi statements following their new agreement acknowledged those talks and thanked Iraq and Oman for their efforts and for hosting them. But it was China that brought them to the table, enabled the breakthrough and accomplished the agreement. “The two sides,” the Saudi statement said, “expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the leadership and government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting and sponsoring the talks, and the efforts it placed towards its success.” Iran’s statement expressed similar gratitude.
The two countries also agreed to “implement . . . the General Agreement for Cooperation in the Fields of Economy, Trade, Investment, Technology, Science, Culture, Sports, and Youth” that was signed on May 27, 1998. This aspect of the agreement more than hints at the widening of the trail the Saudis explored blazing in 2021 to break with US sanctions of Iran.
This flew in the face of the US and its slogan of promoting cooperation in the world’s nations.
With the success of the Saudi-Iran agreement China has offered to broker the dispute between Israel and Palestine (the US will have a cow if this comes about)….
China has offered to mediate between Israel and Palestine in the past. Its most recent pitch came during the May 2021 war between Israel and fighters in the besieged Gaza Strip, when it introduced a four-point peace proposal. An Egyptian-brokered bilateral cease-fire with US backing eventually ended the fighting.
But the new Chinese offer comes amid signs that Beijing is growing more serious about boosting its political role in the region. Last month, it brokered a deal between arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic ties
With all this flurry of diplomatic efforts can we ask again….Is the US losing it’s influence in the Middle East?
The Saudis organized discussions with numerous Arab foreign ministers to discuss Syria’s return to the Arab League. Al-Assad will soon be welcomed at the meetings of the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is orchestrating this campaign in order to reduce the in-fighting in the Arab world. China has been far more supportive of this objective than the United States.
As a result of China’s diplomacy and Saudi willingness to pursue a rapprochement with Syria, there is greater possibility for reducing conflict in Yemen and Syria in the near turn. Immediately after the restoration of ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, a Saudi delegation arrived in Yemen’s capital of Sanaa to end the fighting that has caused the deaths of more than 300,000 innocent civilians. Greater stability in Syria could allow some of the 13 million Syrian refugees to return to their homes.
Beijing realizes that Washington’s one-sided support for Israel as well as its policy of non-recognition of Iran provided an opening to negotiate a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Beijing moved adroitly to act as an honest broker between Riyadh and Tehran, which should ensure China’s continued access to the oil and gas resources in both Gulf countries. China’s success should be a wake-up call to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Department of State, but there is no sign of any U.S. movement to restore its influence in the region. (This should also be a wake-up call to Israel’s national security decision makers, who can no longer assume Saudi support in a confrontation with Iran.)
Is the US Finally Losing Influence in the Middle East?
The US should be the spearhead of all this diplomacy but instead the State Department bows to the War Department on such types of programs.
So is our diplomatic programs dead or dying?
My opinion is….yes they are.
Two astounding events occurred in March – a peace pact between longtime, ferocious enemies Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the presentation to Moscow of a peace deal for the Ukraine war. Both initiatives landed on a very startled west from China. The Middle East deal was presented to the world as a fait accompli, and it led, immediately, to arrangements for a ceasefire in Yemen, a country crucified in the proxy war between its two bigger neighbors and with lethal help from the United States. Now at last there is a real chance not only to end the butchery in Yemen, but also the larger genocide caused by starvation. Finally, food should be able to reach Yemen’s ports and thence the nation’s interior. The various UN agencies and the charities previously blocked from supplying grain to Yemen and its hungry children could soon be able to operate unhindered. This would be an unambiguous win for humanity.
But Washington was not pleased at this unexpected eruption of peace. Once it became public, CIA director William Burns quickly jetted into the Saudi kingdom to complain. As CNN reported April 6, Burns “expressed frustration with Saudi officials over Riyadh’s recent rapprochement with Iran through a diplomatic deal brokered by China as well as the kingdom’s openings with Syria.” Needless to say, this further step by Arab states toward accepting Syria poses military-political problems for the U.S., 900 of whose soldiers illegally occupy a portion of the country and have been engaged, rather ignominiously, in stealing its wheat and oil for some time. U.S. allies, that is, the Kurds, would do well to arrange an escape hatch with Damascus, otherwise they risk finding themselves at the mercy of their arch-enemy, Turkey, once Washington abandons what is becoming an increasingly untenable position.
Peacemaker No More: U.S. Diplomacy in Decline
For me it is sad to see the US becoming a non-player in diplomacy…..it is just so sad that it has been replaced with thed blood lust for war.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”
7 thoughts on “Is Our Middle East Influence Dwindling?”
Of course we’re losing (or have lost) our influence. We’re seen as….or as bad as…..colonizers. The bottom fell out in 2003. As awful as the Chinese are, they don’t have the same stink on them as we do……but they’ll rape the nations in the region for resources all the same (just as they’re doing in Africa).
On the diplomatic front China….of course they are raping the resources…..we do the same but we hide behind corporations like with bananas, oil, etc. chuq
Plus it no longer holds any allure for the arms industry. cuq
It is hard to amass billions of dollars though diplomacy. Easier to sell arms and promote conflict. Of course I have no idea if that is the case or not … but I am entitled to an opinion .. or I thought I was anyway.
Your opinion is valid but like me you are only as informed as the War Department wants us to be. chuq
Unwavering support for Israel, whatever they do, has alienated the US (and to some extent the UK) in the region. As long as support for Israel’s cruel racist policies continues, we can forget about ever restoring faith in diplomacy and good relations with western countries.
Best wishes, Pete.
Yep and that plays into China’s plan…..chuq