In diplomacy, it is often said that Saudis will fight Iran to the last American, and now its portents are more than clear, particularly, when Israel is extremely buoyed by the opening of embassies by the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan, all under the benign gaze of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
The KSA’s relations remain congruent with Israel even when its diplomatic ties are unannounced as ‘normal’, while Egypt’s ruling establishment has long been in alignment with the Jewish state.
The US President-elect Joseph Biden will be the weakest President, as Republican voters led by President Donald Trump have vandalized the US Capitol to force the lockdown of the Congress on January 6 to stop Biden Certification Vote.
The prospect of war has been looming over Iran for a long under the Trump regime, with US warships and the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz stationed in the Persian Gulf. KSA has surprisingly re-established full diplomatic ties with Qatar on January 5, as if what had happened in 2017 was just a small aberration.
The KSA, along with Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain had put sanctions on the fellow Gulf nation, accusing it of being supportive of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Muslim Brotherhood, the organizations considered terrorists by Israel, and therefore, to be accepted by its allies.
In fact, today, the relations between Pakistan and the US are similar to what they were in the year 2000 when the then US President Bill Clinton had visited India for five days and for only five hours to Pakistan after the Islamic nation’s services to ‘break the Soviet Union’ had all been availed until September 11, 2001, came and the US was forced to execute a somersault.
The US invaded Afghanistan with the help of Pakistan and after 20 years had to sit ‘across the table’ with the same people it had sought to wage a war against. Nothing more shameful could ever have been seen.
There was immense pressure from the outgoing President Trump on the KSA to mend fences with Qatar and clear the rot as the US wants all the 22 Arab states on the same page as a part of a grand alliance (quite understandably under Israel) before a war is initiated on Iran.
The strategy is multi-pronged and has taken many targets with the same shot. Qatar is considered equally close to Iran and Turkey too, and both are anathema to the KSA, as it was only Qatar, which came forward offering $15 billion in aid to salvage Turkey’s fallen Lira, in an economic crisis orchestrated by Donald Trump.
It is now possible that KSA would try to influence Qatar to accept Israel as the country has its compulsions of organizing the Football World Cup 2022, but the move would definitely send shockwaves in Iran as well as in Turkey.
This would be the best possible gift with which the KSA Crown Prince MbS would try to impress Biden who has said not to sell weapons to the kingdom out of allegations of MbS’ role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The ultimate objective is to bolster an alliance against Iran.
Qatar has immensely helped the US conduct its crucial dialogue with the Afghan-Taliban and the latter is friendly with Qatar. The US also has the largest military base in Qatar and the country has been a close ally of KSA too, hence, it would not want its friends to lock horns but instead look towards their common foe – Iran.
All the Arab states had always been jittery that the Iranian revolution of 1979 might not hit their states too, but Biden as the Vice President was the one who fomented Arab Spring, hence, an all-out Arab alliance war on Iran or the dread of the restart of Arab Spring, is what is lurking on the Arab streets.
Today, Saudi Arabia wants Qatar to forget what its defense minister Khalid Attiyah had said in 2018 that KSA, the UAE, and Bahrain had wanted to invade Qatar but because of the presence of Turkish troops there, it could not happen.
Qatar was the only Arab nation, which had extremely warm relations with Turkey and Iran, and after Biden, it is very likely that this Arab alliance will further be put to use against Turkey and Pakistan too, apart from its immediate blow to Iran.
How Iran imagines its place in the new power dynamic, particularly when it has entered into a $400 billion ‘trade and military agreement’ for 25 years with China, which is at loggerheads with the US and India alike, will be interesting to watch. India faces a joint war threat from China and Pakistan, while the country has entered into BECA with the US, Pakistan has been abandoned by the US Congress as it is a major non-NATO ally.
It will be interesting to see how Biden takes on this developing political landscape from January 20 onwards.