COMMENTS: China Brokers Rapprochement Between Iran, Saudi Arabia

Mushtaq Siddiqui, intl. media veteran in ISB: The US has been checkmated and challenged in Asia. China played a very positive and constructive role which I thought Pakistan, being a mutual “friend” could/should have played. Once, recently, it tried to mediate but failed to achieve any progress. However, it worried those who wanted this rivalry to stay. This could be one of the reasons Pakistan was financially crippled — to push it back — close to the ‘stone age.

A security analyst in ISB: Over reading of Chinese role. Ruling elites in Gulf and the Arab world remain firmly in Western orbit. Neither China is offering a “new world order” as it operates within international liberal order and its aims are limited to increasing its share of pie in that order and not the over throw of it.

Hamza, defense analyst in RWP: This is a momentous development; the handshake is just the visible part, the tectonic plates have been in motion for the last 20/30 years; only now .becoming visible. The only constant in nature is CHANGE.

Now the picture is complete. Contrasting interests and endeavors. In the 2010s and 2020s America thought they were fighting the righteous war in the Middle East while the real ground zero was in the Pacific and Silicon valley(s). They have again picked up the wrong fight.

A Saudi media analyst in Jeddah: The Saudi Iranian agreement to usher diplomatic relations and have discussions on outstanding issues will ease tensions and offers an opportunity to cooperate in the economic and social sphere..Both are sovereign states and know what is best for them…the Saudi vision is to have security and stability in the region so that economic development will prevail.

Amb. G R Baloch, foreign affairs observer in KHI: The contours of a new world order are emerging.

Syed Hasan Javed, China specialist in KHI: In our dear land of Aristotles, no body wants to go to the Library, ignoring the first commandment ‘Iqra’ of Allah the Almighty. This Holy Book is not only translated in Chinese language, it is used as recommended reference book in US, European and Australian Universities. In Pakistan we are still suffering from mindset of colonial slavery and remain it’s hostage. For the 10% Elite in Pakistan, foreign loan, corner plot, biryani, burger, fries, shawarma, barbeque, cricket, tea, etc. are only what life is all about.

Arsalan Vardag, a professional, observer in ISB: The world is moving back to multi-polar status. A big war is coming.

A Saudi observer in Dammam: Now, in the belief of many impartial experts, success or failure rests with China. Through experience, the Iranian regime does not abide by its commitments.

Long read shared by Abu Ibrahim, a bureaucrat posted in Jeddah:

“The Thaw in Saudi Arabia-Iran Relationship: Implications for Pakistan and CPEC”

The recent thaw in the Saudi Arabia-Iran relationship has significant implications for Pakistan and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The two regional powers have long been at odds with each other, engaging in proxy wars and supporting opposing sides in conflicts throughout the Middle East. However, at beginning of 2021, Saudi Arabia extended an olive branch to Iran in an attempt to de-escalate tensions and promote regional stability.

This move has been welcomed by Pakistan, which has traditionally maintained close ties with both Saudi Arabia and Iran. Pakistan has a vested interest in promoting peace and stability in the region, given its proximity and its security concerns. The country has also been a key player in mediating disputes between the two countries in the past.

The thaw in the Saudi Arabia-Iran relationship is expected to have a positive impact on Pakistan’s own relationship with Saudi Arabia. The two countries have historically had strong ties, with Saudi Arabia providing significant financial and diplomatic support to Pakistan over the years. The two countries have also cooperated closely on issues of regional security, particularly in the fight against terrorism. The recent thaw in the Saudi Arabia-Iran relationship is likely to strengthen this partnership, as Saudi Arabia looks to diversify its alliances and reduce its dependence on the United States.

However, the thaw in the Saudi Arabia-Iran relationship could also have implications for CPEC, the flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Pakistan. The project aims to connect China’s western region to Pakistan’s Gwadar port through a network of highways, railways, and pipelines. Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in investing in CPEC, with the two countries signing several agreements in recent years to cooperate on energy and infrastructure projects. However, Iran has also expressed concerns about the project, particularly about its impact on the environment and local communities.

Pakistan will have to navigate these competing interests carefully, as it seeks to balance its relationships with Saudi Arabia and Iran while also ensuring the success of CPEC. The project is critical to Pakistan’s economic development, with the potential to create jobs, boost trade, and alleviate poverty in the country. However, it has also faced significant challenges, including security threats, political instability, and opposition from local communities.

In conclusion, the thaw in the Saudi Arabia-Iran relationship has significant implications for Pakistan and CPEC. While it presents an opportunity to strengthen ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, it also introduces new challenges in balancing competing interests and ensuring the success of the project. Pakistan will have to analyze these challenges carefully, while also continuing to play
a constructive role in promoting regional stability and cooperation. Despite these challenges, the thaw in the Saudi Arabia-Iran relationship is a positive development for the region as a whole, and Pakistan should continue to encourage dialogue and diplomacy between the two countries. This will not only promote peace and stability but also create new opportunities for economic cooperation and development in the region.