1. China’s Growing Presence in the Middle East
Following the shocking news that Chinese officials brokered the agreement between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, many experts warned that this move was significant for Beijing, which is trying to grow its influence in a region heavily dominated by the U.S. As the Communist government continues to strengthen its economic and military presence throughout the world, officials have hoped to make inroads in Saudi Arabia and Iran through economic and military benefits in the hopes that China’s military can have a presence in the Persian Gulf, a key strategic waterway for oil flow. Should the normalization agreement and its terms expand under Beijing’s grip, China will have turned one of America’s key strategic allies away from its side and into the arms of Beijing, granting the Chinese government a new avenue for oil energy to support its economy and navy. The new agreement will also allow China to strengthen its relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran, helping the mullahs circumvent international sanctions and provide resources to keep the regime alive from internal and external threats.
2. America’s Reduced Presence in the Middle East
With the leaving of Afghanistan and the war on Ukraine ongoing, this agreement has experts warning about America’s reduced presence in the Middle East. From 2020 to today, Biden White House officials and members of the U.S. military have asked for funds to be transferred from the Middle East to other American bases in Africa, Europe, and the South China sea, while radical Islamic terrorist groups have received ample amounts of funding from Iran, Russia, and China. During the 2020 election, President Biden vowed to move troops out of areas like Afghanistan and reduce America’s military presence, resulting in terrorist groups like the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, limiting the U.S’. ability to monitor Iran next door. Should the U.S. continue to withdraw its influence and presence in the Middle East, experts warn that regional allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel are on their own in defending themselves. As a result of the President’s policies, Saudi Arabia has felt that the U.S. is no longer a trusted ally, given that the administration has repeatedly attempted to court Iran’s regime in efforts of resigning a nuclear program while overlooking their support for terrorism.
3. Loss of a Strategic Ally
From World War I to World War II to the Cold War to the fight against terrorism, Saudi Arabia has remained a key strategic ally for the United States, relying on its oil economy and strategic location to monitor Islamic terrorist activities throughout the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. During the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, then-candidate Joe Biden highlighted his antagonism towards the Kingdom, describing it as a “pariah” state, while promising to negotiate with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its nuclear program. With the continuous anti-Saudi stance from the Biden administration, experts and national security analysts warn that this normalization agreement brokered by China is a major step in pushing Saudi Arabia away from America’s side and closer to its adversaries. Should Saudi Arabia open up to China and allow the Communist government’s presence to grow in Riyadh, all of the economic and strategic benefits the Kingdom once provided to the US may cease entirely.
4. Strength for Radical Islamic Terrorism
Iranian-backed terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and others praised the normalization agreement, saying it was a strike against Israel and America. While the Iranian-backed Houthis say that the normalization agreement does not affect their activities, the latest move between Tehran and Riyadh demonstrates that the U.S. move to de-list the Houthis from the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list and treat them with legitimacy by agreeing with the UN armistice, demonstrates the power that Iran’s Islamic terrorist proxy has in Yemen. Should Saudi Arabia and Iran open up their economies and diplomatic relations with one another, experts warn it could hurt any chance of normalization between the Kingdom and the state of Israel. With America seen as a declining power in the Middle East, the latest normalization agreement with one of the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism is a boost to Islamic terrorism, given that potential economic relations could allow Iran to provide its proxies with economic relief for terrorism against Israel and American forces. Iran could also influence the Saudi Arabian government to allow terrorist proxy leadership and officials to enter Riyadh as a haven, preventing Israeli or American officials from acting against them.
5. Disaster for the Abraham Accords
With the news of the normalization between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Israelis responded with disappointment, blaming America’s current relationship with Riyadh and stance towards Iran that led to such an agreement to occur. With the signing of the Abraham Accords during the Trump administration, officials hoped that Saudi Arabia would join Israel and its new allies in economic and military cooperation against the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, with the newly signed agreement with Iran experts say it puts a wrench in such efforts as Iran can grow its influence and possibly prevent the Saudis from allying with the Israelis. The new agreement could also pressure and change the minds of Persian Gulf Arab monarchies that have normalized relations with Israel, resulting in more normalized relations with Iran and undoing all the historic peace agreements between Israel and its former enemies. While Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have official formalized ties, the latest move could hamper Israel’s commercial airline cooperation with Saudi Arabia and hope that the Israeli military could use the Kingdom to aid in striking Iran’s nuclear facilities.