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Adjusting the Middle East to a New Modus Vivendi

Updated: May 26, 2023

A new age has begun in the Middle East as a result of the United States' withdrawal, one that is characterised by the recognition that regional countries must control their own fate. A hasty and piecemeal withdrawal will only have detrimental effects for the US and the region, despite some claims that the US wants to exclude the region from its military and economic goals.

China has clearly positioned itself as a mediator by capitalising on the power vacuum. Its diplomatic efforts are highlighted by recent events like mediating an agreement between Riyadh and Tehran, as well as seeking peace in Yemen.

In the absence of the American order, the long-standing hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran is being re-examined. This hostility was largely attributable to Iran's image of Saudi Arabia as an agent of American influence.

Despite a history of breaking deals, Chinese guarantees have given the two regional powers a new degree of confidence. A sense of security and stability has been provided to regional entities by China as well, despite the fact that it may not have the military strength of the US.

Despite objections to Saudi Arabia's motivations, Syria's return to the Arab League heralds the beginning of a new Middle East too. The government of President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia and China, has succeeded through use of force and unflinching support. His presence at the Arab League table is a triumph for his allies and a recognition of the reality he has created.

History tells us that this new Middle East is characterised by an open rivalry among all players for resources, influence, and power. It puts American interests and regional security at risk and could result in more violent confrontations if there are no defined alliances and regulations. The nations of the area have realised they must seek a compromise, even if it means talking to unpopular individuals and rivals.

As it happens, the Middle Eastern countries have been greatly influenced by China's ancient ideology of peaceful coexistence to pursue peace and cooperation. Leaders in the region have expressed a strong affinity for the Chinese philosophy's core values of respect for one another, non-interference, and conversation. They have come to understand that in a post-US Middle East, they will have to rely solely on themselves to re-establish peace and safeguard interests.

A new era in the Middle East has indeed begun. China's effective mediation efforts have compelled nations to seek a modus vivendi, come to their senses, and acknowledge that they are responsible for their own fate. As the region moves into this new phase, it faces both opportunities and threats. The regional actors must handle their conflicts and rivalries without the support and direction of superpowers.


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