The agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Middle East and the new global geopolitical balances


A new wind seems to be blowing across the entire Middle East. A wind that seems to sweep away decades of consolidated geopolitical structures. And above all it seems to lead to a new era in relations between the most important countries in the region. All this in defiance of the  divide and rule  policy applied by the USA in this part of the world (in an admirable way, for at least 80 years now). The agreement between Shiite Iran and Sunni Arabia for the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two largest countries in the Middle East has just been signed with the backing of China (now Tehran’s strategic ally but also the main buyer of Saudi oil and therefore Riyadh’s largest commercial partner) leaving Europe and the United States of America stunned, which had always favored conflict (and war) between Shiite Islam on one side and Sunni Islam on the other. ‘other’ (and by exploiting these rivalries they had de facto prevented cooperation between the main geopolitical players in the region). The geopolitical implications of these developments are truly “historic” and destined to definitively change the geopolitical structure of the entire Middle East. Let’s try to understand why.


The Middle Eastern region is the westernmost part of Asia and extends from the eastern coast of the Mediterranean to, roughly, the Indus River (today in Pakistani territory). It includes Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and the so-called gulf monarchies (Qatar, UAE, Kuwait). Since the end of the Second World War, the Middle East has been one of the most important regions in the world. In fact, the largest hydrocarbon reserves in the world are concentrated in this macroregion. Which makes it one of the most relevant and geopolitically important areas of the globe. It is no coincidence that many of the wars fought in the post-1945 period were fought in this area. Whether they were direct interventions by the USA (first and second Gulf War) or conflicts between powers in the region (Iran-Iraq war) or internal wars as in the case of the Syrian civil war (even if it was not a civil war at all but rather an attempted color revolution orchestrated from abroad but failed due to Russian military intervention) these wars have always had to do with oil and control of the region’s oil reserves. On the other hand, in the Middle East a third of the quantity of crude oil extracted in the world is produced and a good part of the natural gas (in the Persian Gulf area there is the largest natural gas field in the world belonging to a third of its surface to Iran and two thirds to Qatar). The area is therefore of vital importance for the countries of the first world (currently all major importers of hydrocarbons from the Middle East with the exception of the USA which in recent years has become almost self-sufficient in this regard thanks to the revolution in shale extraction) and countries in strong economic development (especially China and India) whose import of raw materials increases year after year. From all this it can be deduced that this geopolitical chessboard has a strategic interest for the economies of half the world and in particular for those experiencing strong economic growth. The region is also very important for Europe. Especially today when the developments of the war in Ukraine have resulted in an open clash with Putin’s Russia and have led to the formal rupture of economic relations between Moscow and Brussels. In the near future, imports of hydrocarbons from the Middle East could be essential to replace Russian imports. It remains to be seen how the geopolitical balance in the region will evolve given that the Saudis’ rapprochement with Tehran brings the latter closer, by extension, to Moscow and Beijing. Which could be a major problem for Washington and Brussels.military manu  of the “Iranian question”.


Israel’s role in the Middle Eastern region is of great geopolitical importance. This is not only due to the military capabilities of the Jewish state (Israel possesses the atomic bomb, even if there is no official news on the matter) but also due to the objectives that Tel Aviv pursues on the Middle Eastern geopolitical chessboard where, in fact, it aims to be the “hegemonic” power. Israeli foreign policy is completely aligned with that of the USA (historical allies of Israel and so united with the USA that some consider Israel the fifty-second state of the United States of America) and the European Union. The geopolitical vision that Tel Aviv, Washington and Brussels have regarding Iran and its growing economic and military weight in this part of the world is also almost identical. On the other hand, the alliance that Tehran was able to forge with Moscow and Beijing (effectively placing the Persian nation under the military and economic protection of the Sino-Russian axis) strengthened Tehran militarily and economically. And this represents a threat to Israeli, European and US interests in the Middle Eastern region. Now that Saudi Arabia also seems to have abandoned the “Western crusade” against Iran (undertaken at the behest of Washington and London) the position of the Persian state in the region has been enormously strengthened while the Western and Israeli position is greatly compromised . In the sense that by virtue of the new agreement between Riyadh and Tehran for the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries, it will no longer be possible to foment hatred between Sunnis and Shiites in the region and it will no longer be possible to seriously consider the military option against Tehran (for which the concession of Saudi airspace was fundamental). In fact, the new agreement just signed establishes not only the overcoming of the rivalries between the regional powers in the Middle East (fomented by the West based on the divide and conquer strategy) but also the now predominant role of Russia and China on the geopolitical scenario middle Eastern.


We have already had the opportunity to analyze the partial US disengagement in the Middle Eastern area. This region has relatively less importance for the US today than it did in the past. The revolution of hydraulic fracturing and the extraction of shale hydrocarbons have led the US economy to an almost total liberation from the raw material extracted in the Middle East. All this has led to a weakening of the West in the area and a strong strengthening of the presence of Wasgington’s geopolitical rivals. The resumption of diplomatic relations between Iranians and Saudis is nothing more than a logical consequence of these geopolitical developments. Riyadh has simply taken note of this reality (it took note of it at its own expense after having actively taken part in the unsuccessful Syrian uprising against President Bashar al Assad) in which the West seems increasingly cornered in front of advance of Moscow and Beijing in this geopolitical chessboard. The Saudi economy (based mostly on hydrocarbon exports) will necessarily be increasingly interdependent with the economies of the largest Asian countries. Riyadh’s interests will be increasingly Asian and less European and American. This is because the economic growth of the years to come will be concentrated mainly on the Asian markets (China, India, Indonesia and Indochina) and these markets will be the natural outlet for the resources of the Saudi subsoil. On the other hand, the demand for hydrocarbons should decrease in the West (in the USA for the reasons already highlighted above, in Europe due to economic stagnation and the ongoing energy transition which should bear fruit in the next decade). It is completely natural that Riyadh has taken steps to normalize its relations with Tehran and is actively focusing on Asia as the pivot of its geoeconomic and geopolitical vision.


The agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia for the reopening of diplomatic channels between the two countries represents a piece of the geopolitical game underway between the great powers. It represents a historic event (because it subverts the geopolitical balance of the Middle Eastern region as it has existed since the Iranian Islamic revolution of 1979) and at the same time an event full of regional and global geopolitical consequences. The roles of Israel, the USA and Europe in the region are reduced as a result, while the positions of Moscow, Beijing and Tehran appear to be greatly strengthened. At a geoeconomic level, it will shift the economic interest of the countries in the area from the West to the East, decreeing a new order of global geopolitical and geoeconomic balances. All in the context of the inexorable rise of the Asian continent (and the corresponding decline of the West) which appears to be the most relevant event on the global geopolitical stage of the 21st century.

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