Analysis: With the U.S. basically absent globally, new powers have emerged; China continues to strengthen its political and economic role in the Middle East, and would be happy to replace the US as new mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

From the vantage point of the Middle East, it appears that the West’s “unipolar moment” has ended. The United States has concentrated all its efforts in financially and militarily supporting Ukraine against Russia, yet it has been neglecting other regions in the world – first and foremost the Middle East. The U.S. has been absent in the region and, as a result, its historic and strategic allies in the Gulf – such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE – have begun to look for other countries willing to support their interests. China, which longs to become the top global superpower, could not have hoped for a better opportunity. Taking advantage of the vacuum left by the U.S., Beijing mediated the normalization of relations between the two most important countries in the region: Iran and Saudi Arabia. After all, Washington has abandoned the Saudis in their proxy war with Tehran (indeed, President Joe Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a pariah state in light of the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi), so they have decided to follow the adage: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

The Saudis’ diplomatic decision has proved to be rewarding. Iran has stopped the Houthi attacks on Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and the U.S. was forced to acknowledge Saudi Arabia’s strategic importance, giving it the green light to develop a civilian nuclear program in exchange for its support in nuclear negotiations with Iran. This was driven partly by the fear that its old ally would turn its back on the West for good and instead turn to the East.

America’s support for the Saudis is better late than never – but it is nonetheless too late. Saudi Arabia has already diversified its alliances, since it felt that it could not rely only on the United States. Furthermore, after the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, the U.S. has been losing ground in Iraq, which is today a de-facto Iranian colony. America’s recent naval and ground reinforcements in Syria and the Persian Gulf will not change this fact.

Meanwhile, China continues to strengthen its political and economic role in the region. China’s ambassador to Tehran, Chang Hua, recently emphasized that Chinese-Iranian cooperation is at its height. Indeed, according to the data intelligence firm Kpler, Iran’s sanctioned oil shipments to China have tripled over the past three years, and its oil sector is experiencing noticeable growth. Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, Aramco, is also investing billions of dollars in China’s petrochemical industry…Source – Read More!

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