Iran-Gulf rapprochement is shattering US and Israeli dreams
Anyone hearing the statements being made these days by US officials — especially Secretary of State Anthony Blinken — about Washington’s stepped-up efforts to normalise relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel could be excused for thinking they inhabit a different planet.
They seem completely oblivious to the radical changes sweeping the region, especially the accelerating momentum towards ending US political and military influence in the Middle East and especially the Gulf.
Addressing Zionist lobbyists in Washington on Monday, Blinken declared the US “has a real national security interest in promoting normalisation” between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
“We believe that we can – and indeed we must – play an integral role in advancing it,” he said, adding ” we remain committed to working toward that outcome, — including during his current visit to Riyadh.
This was part of a speech in which Blinken reiterated the US’ unstinting support for Israel and warned that “all options are on the table” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
The most eloquent rejoinder to these optimistic delusions came in the form of four developments in the past few days that will have shocked and horrified the US and Israel, and Blinken personally.
— The announcement by Iranian navy commander Admiral Shahram Irani that his country and four Gulf states -(Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar) plan to form a naval alliance that will also include Pakistan and India. (Oman signed a naval treaty with Iran years ago).
Blinken rushes to meet MbS hours after Iran reopens its embassy in Riyadh. The loser @SecBlinken will have begged for Saudi-Israel normalization in return, but has zero leverage to demand anything. https://t.co/Qlzbn2Y7Nu
— Sharmine Narwani (@snarwani) June 7, 2023
— Tuesday’s reopening of the Iranian embassy in Riyadh at a ceremony attended by senior officials from both sides including Ambassador Alireza Enayati, a high-ranking diplomat whose appointment reflects the extent of the bilateral interests involved.
— Confirmation that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin-Farhan will visit Iran in the next few days to discuss strengthening trade and security ties and formally invite President Ebrahim Raisi to Riyadh.
— The signing by Saudi Arabia and Russia’s energy ministers of an agreement to bolster their ‘OPEC+’ deal by cutting oil production in order to maintain fair prices.
The move led to an immediate rise in oil prices and belied Western press reports about oil-related disagreements between Riyadh and Moscow.
These developments, which were not out-of-the-blue or unexpected, are obviously bad news for the US.
The planned naval alliance, in particular, makes redundant all US and European claims about protecting the Gulf states from an Iranian threat, or any justification for maintaining a massive naval presence in the region and large military bases in Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait.
Henceforth, the countries of the region will rely on their own navies and militaries to safeguard the security of their territory and waters.
They no longer need to be subjected to US extortion.