Can Saudi-Iran accord trigger a domino effect and stabilize Middle East?

  • The recent agreement brokered by China between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two countries with a long history of hostility, has the potential to create a domino effect throughout the Middle East.

Edited By Mausam Jha
Published10 Apr 2023, 09:25 AM IST
China's involvement in the Saudi-Iran agreement is being perceived as a significant step towards establishing its diplomatic and strategic influence in the Middle East.
China’s involvement in the Saudi-Iran agreement is being perceived as a significant step towards establishing its diplomatic and strategic influence in the Middle East.

In a meeting held last Thursday in Beijing, the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian respectively, marked their first diplomatic encounter in seven years by signing an agreement to restore diplomatic ties and end hostilities between their nations.

During their historic meeting, the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, discussed several key matters pertaining to the restoration of diplomatic relations between their nations.

According to media reports, the recent agreement brokered by China between Saudi Arabia and Iran, two countries with a long history of hostility, has the potential to create a domino effect throughout the Middle East.

The resolution of tensions between these two countries may positively impact other nations in the region, such as Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, where Saudi Arabia and Iran have historically supported opposing sides.

This agreement could play a significant role in stabilizing the region and promoting greater cooperation and diplomacy among nations, ANI reported.

China's involvement in the Saudi-Iran agreement is being perceived as a significant step towards establishing its diplomatic and strategic influence in the Middle East.

This growing role of China in the region has caused concern for the United States, which is witnessing a decline in its own economic and soft power in the region.

The recent diplomatic breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and Iran has raised hopes that the long-standing conflict in Yemen may finally come to an end. This conflict has been fueled by opposing support from Iran for the Houthi rebels, while Saudi Arabia has backed the internationally recognized government.

The war has resulted in the deaths of over 233,000 people and has left around five million people at risk of famine. Additionally, a cholera outbreak has affected over one million people.

In 2022, the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in Yemen, which has been mostly observed by the opposing sides.

With the recent agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, under which both nations have committed to ending their involvement in the Yemeni conflict, the ceasefire is expected to become permanent.

The recent diplomatic agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran has brought some relief to the Saudi government, which has been struggling with missile and drone attacks by Houthi rebels against its oil installations.

The government expects that with the end of the Yemeni conflict, these attacks will stop and it will no longer need to invest billions of dollars in advanced air defense systems.

The recent diplomatic breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a significant achievement for Iran, which has been isolated from the international community for several years.

The fact that Iran was able to restore diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, one of its main adversaries in the Middle East, without any prior agreement on its nuclear program is a major diplomatic victory.

Hussein Ibish, of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, points out that the accord "for Iran represents a successful effort of trying to push back against regional isolation without major changes to its policies, which adversaries like Saudi Arabia had previously been demanding."

The diplomatic breakthrough between Saudi Arabia and Iran is likely to have a significant impact on the situation in Syria. For several years, Saudi Arabia has been a major supporter of anti-government forces in Syria, while Iran has backed the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Currently, pro-Iranian militias continue to control several Syrian provinces.

The change in Saudi Arabia's policy on Syria can be attributed to the military support provided by Russia to the Assad regime, which made it clear that the regime would not be toppled. As a result, Saudi Arabia stopped supporting the insurgents and is now discussing the possibility of Syria rejoining the Arab League.

Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian armed group, has been a powerful force in Lebanon for several years, exerting significant influence over the country's military and political affairs.

It has evolved into a hybrid terrorist organization that occasionally engages in battles with Israel while simultaneously providing social welfare to thousands of citizens affected by Lebanon's severe economic crisis.

Lebanese politics have been broadly split for years between Hezbollah and a pro-Saudi coalition.

Lebanon has been in the midst of an economic crisis for several months, with no clear end in sight.

The country is without a president and a fully empowered cabinet, and political parties on opposing sides have been unable to reach agreements on key issues facing the nation.

Lebanon's political paralysis has been ongoing for many months, with no resolution in sight. However, the recent restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran has raised hopes that this could change.

Nabih Berri, the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, hailed the development as "historic" and called on Lebanese politicians to take note and move quickly to elect a new president.

In the aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the toppling of Saddam Hussein's government, various militias with links to Tehran joined the newly reconstituted Iraqi Army. In 2014, when the Islamic State advanced into northern Iraq, Iran provided technical assistance to the Iraqi government and sent troops to fight against ISIL, while also providing weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

In 2020, there was a slight improvement in relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and the two countries reopened a border crossing. The recent agreement brokered by China is expected to further improve relations between Tehran, Riyadh, and Baghdad.

The recent restoration of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran has diminished the possibility of an Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia, thus removing the powerful incentive for Riyadh to consider strengthening ties with Israel.

The Chinese-brokered deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not welcomed by the United States, which sees its overall Middle East strategy as being undermined.

A State Department spokesman, commenting on the Riyadh- Tehran accord, said, "If this dialogue leads to concrete action by Iran to curb its destabilizing activities in the region, including the proliferation of dangerous weapons, then of course, we would welcome that."

The US is coming to the realization that the possibility of Saudi Arabia and Israel establishing diplomatic relations is unlikely, given the recent restoration of ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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First Published:10 Apr 2023, 09:25 AM IST
HomeNewsWorldCan Saudi-Iran accord trigger a domino effect and stabilize Middle East?

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