onsdag 15. mars 2023

China has shattered the assumption of US dominance in the Middle East

With a grandiose diplomatic flourish China brokered a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, in the process upending US calculus in the Gulf and beyond. While the United States has angered its Gulf allies by apparently dithering over morality, curbing arms supplies and chilling relations, Saudi Arabia’s King-in-waiting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, has found a kindred spirit in China’s leader Xi Jinping. Both are bold, assertive, willing to take risks and seemingly share unsated ambition.

Friday’s announcement that Riyadh and Tehran had renewed diplomatic ties was unexpected, but it shouldn’t have been. It is the logical accumulation of America’s diplomatic limitations and China’s growing quest to shape the world in its orbit. Beijing’s claim that “China pursues no selfish interest whatsoever in the Middle East,” rings hollow. It buys more oil from Saudi Arabia than any other country in the world.