One of President Barack Obama’s plans at the time, to stabilize the Middle East and promote the United States’ withdrawal from it, was to divide it into Saudi-led Shiite and Sunni-influenced areas of influence – ostensibly as Europe was divided into areas of influence at the Vienna Congress, following the victory over Napoleon.
Although he oddly won the Nobel Peace Prize, historical understanding and political knowledge were not Obama’s strengths, nor was he Maternich or Kassler, the two architects of that historic arrangement, so he probably did not understand that the Middle East was not Europe then and that the interests and motives of the various actors That of the world does not exactly fit into the formation of a geopolitical matrix according to that model.
Mostly, he did not understand that Iran’s hegemonic aspirations are not just for the Shiite regions, but for the entire region. He also ignored the fact that the Middle East is home to other countries with their own interests. Obama has been striving to warm relations with Iran since his inception as president.
Not much is left of the ideas of the spheres of influence, and the civil war in Syria also contributed to this, but it is possible that a situation is emerging right now – if not for division into spheres of influence between Iran and Saudi Arabia, then at least for cooperation on certain issues. Signs of this have already been seen six months ago, close and not by chance, to the political upheaval in the United States.
Although the basic interests and tendencies of both sides have remained the same, the reality that surrounds them has changed. If during the Trump era, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab states (and yes, Israel too) estimated that they could trust America to block Iran’s threatening trends, especially in the nuclear field but also in other areas, then the United States led by Biden to renew the nuclear deal without conceding, except for statements, criticism Of its old allies in this matter, and the fear of losing the diplomatic umbrella, and perhaps of its military future – caused Riyadh and to a lesser extent other Arab countries such as Jordan and Egypt not to rule out a positive turn towards Iran.
Trump’s policy of overturning the Iranian nuclear program by intensifying political and economic pressure had a reasonable chance of success, but it died in enmity with the change of government in Washington. Saudi Arabia is also aware that following the Hashukaji affair, its shares in Congress and the American public have plummeted.
More importantly, Biden himself, with the lowest percentage of support for any president since 1945, is struggling for his legacy and facing a tough intra-political confrontation with the far-left wing of his Democratic Party, which misses no opportunity to sabotage US ties with traditional allies in the East. High school; By the way, this is a conclusion that the current Israeli government has not yet internalized.
This should be seen in the light of the statement by Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdullahian and his spokesman that “talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran are moving in a good direction,” and that they are also discussing relations with the region, especially the Gulf states, and the war in Yemen.
However, the headline in Haaretz: “The rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia dismantles the anti-Iranian coalition” was exaggerated and trending, as no public pose can change the causes of hostility and fundamental contradictions between the parties – both politically and economically and religiously.
Above all, the nuclear threat from Iran that no Saudi or Arab statesman can ignore at all continues to hover. The important Abrahamic agreements between Israel and the Arab Emirates, and the support of other Arab states for the agreements, reflect this fact. Saudi Arabia was not a party to the agreement either, and as I wrote at the time, it was from the beginning a false expectation to think otherwise – if only because Riyadh did not intend to play second fiddle to the Emirates or renounce the “Arab peace initiative” on the Palestinian issue associated with Malka.
Although an agreement on the division of the Middle East between Iran and Saudi Arabia is not on the table, temporary and partial steps to create modus vivendi between the parties are on the agenda, and this may have implications for Israel as well.