The Middle East in turmoil
If you dream of a well-policed world where the United States rules, you're going to have to fall back on the history books. Everywhere, other powers are jostling and in the Middle East, in particular, a whole game of alliances is being realigned before our eyes.
Russia is mired in the east of Ukraine. A year of Western sanctions, however, has not diminished the intensity of its attacks on Ukrainian cities, as we saw again on Thursday.
At the same time, the Russian economy remains in relatively good health, to the chagrin of those who hoped that the daily miseries would incite the population to revolt against the regime of Vladimir Putin.
In China, Xi Jinping yesterday obtained a third term as president of the country, a first since Mao Zedong. The deal was already done last fall at the 20th Congress, when he was reappointed leader of the Chinese Communist Party.
During the week, Xi escalated his criticism of the regard to the United States and what he calls its policy of “all-out containment, encirclement and suppression” of China. He obviously intends not to stop there.
WHEN HIGH DIPLOMACY NO LONGER PASS THROUGH WASHINGTON
Moscow is entangled in a war and Beijing is hobbling out of a staggering management of the pandemic. The two military giants nevertheless manage to stir things up in their corner of the world, even to reshuffle the cards in regions where Washington has long been rain or shine.
The big blow is this rapprochement, confirmed yesterday, between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The two Muslim powers are fierce rivals, one Sunni, the other Shiite, and it has already been seven years since they had diplomatic relations.
Discussions took place in Iraq and Oman, but it was the Chinese who managed to convince them to reopen their embassies and reactivate a security cooperation agreement. China, already, played on these two tables: it is the biggest buyer of Saudi oil, while it is accused by the United States of supplying parts for the Iranian drone program, drones that Russia then uses in its war in Ukraine.
FRIENDS ON ONE SIDE, ENEMIES ON THE OTHER
A whole upheaval is taking place in the Middle -East. And impossible to take things lightly, because the vast majority of the planet gets its oil supplies there. Then there is Israel, which has the trick of holding us back.
The complicity between Moscow and Tehran worries Tel Aviv, which has no worse enemy in the region than the Islamic Republic. The Israelis would like to formalize their unacknowledged relations with the Saudis, but the latter pose as a condition for such a rapprochement, a helping hand with the development of their civilian nuclear program.
The United States hates talk of nuclear power, even for civilian use, in the region, but is also annoyed that Israel and Saudi Arabia continue to nurture relations with Russia, despite the war it is waging in Ukraine .
The big American umbrella over the Middle East is no longer enough. It's every man for himself now.
Saudi Arabia and Iran
REGIONAL POWERS, ENEMY BROTHERS
- 2,149,690 km2
- 36 million inhabitants
- Islamic absolute monarchy: King Salmane Abdul Aziz
- GDP per capita: $22,700
- 480,000 active soldiers
- 889 combat aircraft
- 1,062 tanks
- 55 warships
- 1,648,195 km2
- 88 million inhabitants
- Islamic Republic: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei< /strong>
- GDP per capita: $22,700
- < li dir="auto">525,000 active soldiers
- 516 combat aircraft
- 3,709 tanks
- 398 warships