A serious blow to the position of the US in the Middle East 

The agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia on the renewal of relations between them is a severe blow to the position of the US in the Middle East and strengthening the position of China as a new and active player in this arena. The agreement will not affect Iran's race to obtain the nuclear bomb and Israel's efforts to thwart the Iranian goal, but the agreement may harm Israel's chances of expanding the Abraham Accords to other countries, including Saudi Arabia.


Many countries in the Muslim world welcomed at the end of the week the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia on the renewal of relations between them, after a 7-year disconnection, which was achieved through the mediation of China. 

The Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas also welcomed the agreement with Shiite Iran, the UN Secretary General joined in the congratulations and the US also had to congratulate it in a forced way expressing doubt whether Iran will meet its obligations, but there is no doubt that the US is the main loser from the agreement . The agreement is a heavy blow and damage to the position and prestige of the US in the Middle East. 

Chinese President Shi Jinping managed to achieve an important diplomatic and economic victory in the Middle East and made China an important player in the Middle East and the entire world. 

China is becoming an active player in Middle East diplomacy, the Middle East arena was an important area of influence for the US and now China is also becoming a major player in it to the dismay of the Biden administration. 

The agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia is a political and strategic earthquake that indicates that Saudi Arabia well understands the balance of power in the Middle East and now prefers to get closer to the Chinese-Iranian-Russian axis over getting closer to the American-Israeli axis and is in no hurry to reach a normalization agreement with Israel. 

Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the Saudi throne, who is considered the strongest man in the kingdom and the next king, sees first and foremost the interests of his country, he reads carefully the strategic situation and the strengthening of China’s global position. 

The US followed the behind-the-scenes talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia that began about two years ago, but was surprised by the announcement of the agreement being reached. 

The agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia ends the disconnection between the two countries that has lasted since 2016. According to estimates by Arab commentators, there is an understanding that the agreement between them will bring an end to the war in Yemen, which has become an ongoing nightmare for Saudi Arabia and Iran will put heavy pressure on its Houthi allies in Yemen to reach an agreement on ending the war.


In their estimation, the agreement may also lead to the renewal of ties between Saudi Arabia and the regime of President Bashar Assad. 

Saudi Arabia should take advantage of its achievement to continue rapprochement with Qatar and Turkey. 

The Iranians are also satisfied, they see the agreement with Saudi Arabia as another means of easing the international pressure exerted on them. 


The effect of the agreement on Israel  


Senior political officials say that the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia will not affect Israel’s fight against Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, the Iranian danger has not passed. 

 The Iranian leadership will not change from a wolf to a peace-loving lamb, says a senior political official, and therefore Israel continues as usual with all its plans to thwart the Iranian nuclear threat. 

The agreement will not affect the existing overt and covert relations that already exist between Israel and the Saudi royal family. 

The assessment in Israel is that the Saudis will wait to see if Iran is indeed serious in its intentions to comply with the agreement. 

Saudi Arabia needs Israel’s help in the White House in everything related to the Iranian danger and strengthening the position of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who wants to be the next king in Saudi Arabia. 

Saudi Arabia fears that President Biden will try to torpedo the election of Mohammed bin Salman as the new king of Saudi Arabia after his father steps down from the political stage. 

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago, Saudi Arabia wants Israel’s help to get American aid in enriching uranium to build nuclear reactors to produce electricity. 

The US and Israel fear that the information that will be transferred to Saudi Arabia will help it develop nuclear weapons. 

The enmity between Saudi Arabia, the leader of the Sunni world, and Iran, the leader of the Shiite world, is not going to disappear following the signing of the agreement. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s position is not strong now in the White House due to differences of opinion with President Biden on what is happening in the Palestinian arena and because of the  intention to implement the judicial reform in Israel, therefore, it is very doubtful whether Netanyahu will be able to convince the American president to give the Saudis what they want, especially in light of the slap in the face  President Biden received from the Saudi Crown Prince  following Saudi Arabia’s rapprochement with China and the strengthening of its position in the Middle East at the expense of the position of the United States. 

Therefore, there could certainly be damage to Israel’s efforts to expand the Abraham Accords and include Saudi Arabia in them. It seems that the Saudis do not estimate that Israel will soon attack the nuclear facilities in Iran and they want to insure themselves from the Iranian danger. 

The Saudis now live by the saying: if you can’t beat your enemies join them, political survival and the throne are the main interests that drive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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