Takeaways from the China-Brokered Saudi-Iran Deal

(Foreign Policy) Aaron David Miller - Anyone who believes that we're on the cusp of a golden era between Tehran and Riyadh should lie down and wait until the feeling passes. Decades of Saudi-Iranian tensions and bitter rivalries between Persian Shiites and Arab Sunnis will not be easily healed. The fundamental dynamics of that rivalry haven't changed. It strains credulity to believe that conflict reduction can be achieved over such a broad region with so many moving parts by this latest agreement alone. And, of course, there's the unresolved matter of Iran's nuclear program, which might lead to a Saudi effort to acquire a bomb of its own. The Saudis have informed Washington that the main result of the accord is that Iran has agreed to stop attacking Saudi interests and supporting anti-Saudi proxies - a glorified cease-fire. The argument that this is a major defeat for the U.S. is overblown. If the Saudi-Iran deal actually defuses tensions and opens up a pathway to end Yemen's nightmare, that would be a welcome development. Talk of a U.S. withdrawal from the region is silly. Washington retains critical economic, security, and political ties with the region's key players. And neither China nor Russia can yet replace Washington as a key security partner for both Israel and Arab countries alike. The writer, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is a former U.S. State Department Middle East analyst and negotiator.

2023-03-16 00:00:00

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