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Saudi Arabia strategically readjusts itself to become a pivotal player in a world in turmoil.


Jun 7, 2023

The author of “Black Wave” discusses current events in the Middle East, drawing parallels to similar events that occurred in 1990. In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, leading to sanctions on Iraq. Eventually, thanks to Operation Desert Storm, Kuwait was liberated and Saudi Arabia and Iran announced they would resume diplomatic relations. A few years after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan. Assad’s regime in Syria continued to be accused of terrorist attacks against Western countries. The US President at the time, George H.W. joined a coalition to fight for democracy.

Although there are similarities between the events of 1990 and the current political environment, there are also notable differences. Assad’s son, Bashar, has recently returned to the Arab world, but remains an adversary to the West. Additionally, there has been no Arab-Israeli peace summit similar to the 1991 Madrid conference. US President Joe Biden has frequently spoken about fighting for democracy and authoritarianism, but the announcement of a new world order is still pending, so the world finds itself in a divided interregnum of power transitions.

Currently, Saudi Arabia is positioning itself strategically as the linchpin of whatever happens next. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy recently attended the Arab League summit in Jeddah before flying out to meet with G7 countries in the West. Saudi Arabia has historically been a strong ally of the United States, and is currently facing scrutiny for their aggressive foreign policy including the war in Yemen and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

However, despite their recent criticisms, Saudi Arabia is still working to build better ties with their neighbors, such as resuming ties with Qatar and seeking peace with Iran. The latter’s easing of tensions may not last, but Saudi Arabia is primarily seeking a respite from Iran to protect against Iranian retaliation in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program.

As the next global phase takes shape, the Middle East will undoubtedly be a key player. The risk of conflict between Israel and Iran’s proxies has increased, which could result in Saudi Arabia being at the center of the action. In either case, Saudi Arabia may be under pressure to normalize relations with Israel. As the world waits for a new global order to emerge, the Middle East remains a critical region with many unknowns.

By Editor

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