News, Perspectives 0 comments on Iranian Ambassador to Tunisian Foreign Minister

Iranian Ambassador to Tunisian Foreign Minister

Mr. Nabil Ammar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad, received at the Ministry’s headquarters on Friday, December 01, 2023, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Mohammad Reza Raouf Shibani, who paid him a farewell visit on the occasion of the end of his mission in Tunisia.
During the meeting, Ambassador Mohamed Reza Raouf Shibani expressed his thanks and gratitude to the President, the Government and the people of Tunisia for the constructive cooperation and support he received, which helped the mission to carry out its tasks and its role in strengthening the brotherly relations and the cooperation between the two brotherly countries.
For his part, the Minister praised the historic brotherly ties between Tunisia and Iran, and thanked the Iranian Ambassador for the valuable efforts he has made during his tenure in Tunisia and his role in strengthening relations between the two countries, stressing our country’s determination to further consolidate the relations of cooperation with Iran and expand them to promising areas.


NESA Center Alumni Publication
Dr. Arslan Chikhaoui (Chairman of NSV Consultancy & Studies Center and Advisory Board Member of the Defense and Security Forum)
24 May 2023

The 32nd Arab Summit in Jeddah addressed the issue of low-intensity conflict in Sudan. Indeed, given the position of Sudan, the crisis in this country has undoubtedly had an impact in the sub-Saharan region, including in the Sahel and in the countries of North Africa. These countries are not immune to the ongoing low-intensity conflict, largely because of the common Arab cultural and political ties that unite them. The danger now posed by the potential repercussions of the Sudanese crisis on North African countries is a source of major concern for other Arab countries.

The first concern is that the situation in Libya is one of the most worrying, given that the country is mired in a power struggle between East and West and that the warring factions have complex links with the parties involved in the Sudanese crisis. This could undermine any future inclusive reconciliation in Libya.

The second concern is the potential impact on the political situation in Chad and the security and humanitarian problems that could arise for other countries in the Sahel, including Mali and Niger. The Chadian government is perhaps rightly concerned that opposition armed forces in the country may seek some form of alliance with Sudan’s rapid support forces. The growing political vulnerability of Chad and Libya could lead to foreign military intervention, which would create other problems. Such unrest is fertile ground for Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs), allowing them to move freely throughout the ungoverned Sahel region. These groups still feel empowered by the 2011 protests and the resulting lack of security across the region. It is perhaps obvious to point out that the relatively improved security in the region following the so-called “Arab Spring” protests has led to a consequent decline in the activities of various terrorist groups.

The Sudanese crisis could also prompt terrorist groups to intensify their activities in the border regions between Tunisia and Algeria. These groups are entrenched in the Chaambi Mountains in Tunisia and all along the Algerian-Libyan border areas to northern Mali. In such circumstances, the likelihood of an attack similar to the one in 2013, which targeted a gas facility in the Algerian region of Tiguentourine, increases. For the record, the attackers’ starting point for this operation was the border area between Niger and Libya. The terrorist group cites France’s “Serval” military intervention in Mali as justification for that malicious action. Algeria rightly recalls that a solution to the Sudanese crisis had to be found by avoiding any foreign military intervention, which it considers to be one of the main reasons for the intensification of the various crises in the region.

In addition, North African countries fear the security threats posed by illegal immigration, asylum seekers, narcotic trafficking, and organized crime in all its forms since these countries are located on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, from which boats carry illegal migrants to Europe. In recent years, the number of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants heading to North African countries has increased due to deteriorating conditions in the Sahel countries. While the countries of North Africa were previously only transit points, they have now become a main hub for those seeking to immigrate illegally to Europe, seen as an “Eldorado.” This has caused several internal problems in these countries. The latest concerns accusations of racism leveled against Tunisia because of the way it treats African refugees and immigrants. This even prompted the Tunisian presidency to publish details to reject such accusations.

The third concern is that structural problems in the countries of the Sahel could hamper their ability to prevent the Sudanese crisis from spreading in their countries. If this conflict evolves, it could plunge the entire region into the conditions that prevailed before the first wave of what is being called the “Arab Spring.” It is undeniable that these countries are stepping up their efforts to maintain their security and stability, in addition to contributing to international efforts aimed at achieving a peaceful resolution to the low-intensity conflict in Sudan.

Last but not least, the fourth concern is that the low-intensity conflict in Sudan, which threatens to blow up the ungoverned Sahel zone, could be a justification for maintaining the Status Quo of the Western Sahara issue.

Interviews, News, opinion, Perspectives 0 comments on Final déclaration of the forum “Changes in Tunisia and the European Maghreb Countries in 2023: The economic and security situation new Threats.”

Final déclaration of the forum “Changes in Tunisia and the European Maghreb Countries in 2023: The economic and security situation new Threats.”

The closing statement of the forum “Changes in Tunisia and the European Maghreb Countries in 2023: The economic and security situation threatens to explode and collapse.”

– 35,000 Tunisians immigrated illegaly to Europe in 2022
A new regional order and distancing the region from “proxy wars”

A forum on economic and geostrategic changes in Tunisia and the European Maghreb region was organized in Tunisia, with the participation of elite diplomats, experts in economists, international relations, media and strategic studies, at the initiative of the organizations “Tunisia for Competencies”, “Ibn Rushd Forum for Strategic Studies” and “Association of Democrats in the Arab World” ..
Lecturers from the five Maghreb countries, Jordan and the European Union participated in this forum, in person or via electronic platforms. Their interventions warned of multiple indicators of social and security explosions due to the economic and political collapse and the serious repercussions of conflicts, the war in Ukraine, and the continuation of conventional and “cold” wars in the region, especially in Libya. And between Morocco and Algeria and in Palestine and the Arab East…
After diagnosing the situation, this forum resulted in many recommendations, including:

First, in the socio-economic field:
The forum recommended the adoption of “urgent and structural” and “unconventional” solutions: to contain the accumulated economic, social and political crises, which have increased in severity and seriousness due to the complications of the Ukraine war and its development into very serious conflicts between Russia and its allies and NATO countries, including European countries, the main partner of Tunisia and the Maghreb countries. And the Mediterranean..
The forum recommended good governance and the political and administrative reforms required to improve the economic and social reality and the conditions of youth and the popular classes that are about to explode and revolt against everyone … with an emphasis on the relationship between development and democracy and on the fact that the paths of the “democratic transition” in Tunisia and the Arab countries faltered as a result of the accumulation of politicians’ mistakes since 2011 Domestic, regional and international conspiracies and agendas.

Secondly, in the Maghreb field:

Participants recommended containing internal crises, especially in Libya, in all Maghreb countries through negotiation and political solutions, and excluding all scenarios of fighting, violent clashes, and security explosions of unknown consequences.
They also called for containing the old and new differences between Algeria and Morocco, restoring relations between them, opening closed borders, and purifying the climate between the five countries to activate bilateral and collective agreements for economic partnership and integration in all sectors, which will contribute to improving annual growth rates in Tunisia and every Maghreb country. At least two points.
The interventions also called for the exit of foreign forces from Libya and the region, and for the exclusion of foreign interference that impedes the paths of national reconciliation and comprehensive development throughout the region.

Third, in the Euro-Mediterranean field:
Participants from Arab and European countries recorded that the economic cost of the Corona epidemic and the war in Ukraine made the European Union countries retreat from their programs to support development, democracy and reforms in “neighboring countries”. Budgets were transferred to support Ukraine and finance the reception of millions of refugees fleeing the war. Brussels and the Arab and Mediterranean countries to activate partnership agreements and facilitate the movement of travelers, investors and goods in both directions… “And that the role of the countries of the southern Mediterranean is not reduced to protecting the southern European coasts from the waves of illegal immigrants, Tunisians, Arabs and Africans.”
The parliamentarian and former leader of the Democratic Current Party, Majdi al-Karbaei, recorded in his intervention from Italy and the journalist Moncef al-Sulaimi from Germany that the number of Tunisian immigrants “surreptitiously” towards Italy in 2022 was in the range of 18,000 from the sea, while the candidates for immigration to it via Turkey and Serbia were estimated at 15. Thousands… meaning that their number in one year hovered around 35 thousand… while the number of those who died by drowning or were imprisoned in very harsh conditions was estimated to be 1,000 Tunisians…

Fourth, in the international field:
The forum recommended decision makers in the world to take advantage of the suffocating global crisis triggered by the conflicts between the NATO countries on the one hand and Russia and its

News, opinion, Perspectives 0 comments on Chemical Weapons Probes Can Expose Western Plots against Syria

Chemical Weapons Probes Can Expose Western Plots against Syria

The UN and its sunsets that for a decade along with the Western-Arab-Israeli triangle backed the Syrian opposition and terrorists fighting the Syrian government now admitted they found documents that show the ISIS terrorist group was the party that used chemical weapons in the past years.

UN experts said they have cited digital evidence and witness evidence that all confirm the use of chemical weapons by the terrorist group in Iraq between 2014 and 2019. The UN investigation team confirmed that ISIS had produced and used rockets, chemical mortars, chemical ammunition for rockets, chemical warheads, and homemade chemical bombs. The report specifically mentions the ISIS attack on Tuz Khurma town in Kirkuk province on March 8, 2016.

This report is while the Iraqi government in July 2014, when ISIS occupied many western regions of the country, confirmed in a report that a center related to the country’s former chemical weapons program had fallen into the hands of terrorists and expressed concern about this issue.

In the past years, the issue of using banned weapons, especially chemical weapons, has been very controversial and at times it became a tool for the propaganda campaigns and the political pressure of the Westerners on the Syrian government. The UN has not submitted a report on the use of unconventional weapons by the terrorists so far, but now that the crimes of ISIS have been exposed to everyone, it had to disclose some realities.

Scenario of chemical weapons use in Syria

The UN has confirmed the use of chemical weapons by ISIS in Iraq while it refuses to prepare such reports in Syria. This is while ISIS was present in Syria before it rose in Iraq and occupied the border areas of the two countries and could easily move such weapons between the two countries and there are reports published by Moscow and Damascus that disclosed the use of chemical weapons by terrorists. A number of chemical attacks in Syria may have been carried out by ISIS, but since dozens of terrorist groups were present in the Syrian provinces at the same time, it is difficult to confirm which one was behind the attacks and this requires a comprehensive investigation.

The use of chemical weapons is not limited to ISIS, and other Takfiri groups have also committed these crimes many times. Terrorist groups based in Syria have committed such crimes in different regions in the past years, but the UN has always accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons instead of the Takfiris under the pressure of the Americans and Europeans. Even when all Syrian chemical weapons were removed from the country under the UN supervision in 2013, accusations against the Syrian government continued.

In October 2013, a year after outbreak of conflict, the UN inspectors reported that from the seven areas they inspected, in five areas, chemical weapons were used. Ghouta, Khan Ersal, Juber, Sargheb, and Ashrafia were areas in which these weapons were used, but the UN report did not specify which party, the government or the terrorists, used them. The ambiguity of reports paved the way for backers of terrorists to point the fingers at the Syrian government. Even former US President Barack Obama planned to attack Syria with the help of NATO in September 2013 under the pretext that the Syrian government was attacking terrorists and civilians with chemical weapons, but he eventually abandoned this plan as Damascus agreed to hand over its chemical weapons.
In another report, the UN claimed that the Syrian government used chlorine gas chemical weapons in the attacks on Idlib city in March 2016, and this substance was embedded in barrel bombs. In 2017, the UN claimed that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against armed groups in Khan Sheikhoun. In April 2018, when the use of chemical weapons in the Duma city in the Damascus suburbs was raised by the Western powers, Bashar al-Jaafari, the permanent representative of Syria to the UN, stressed that his country would not accept any results published by the investigation team of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons regarding the incident in Duma, adding: “Some countries are trying to repeat what happened in Iraq and find excuses with the aim of starting an aggression against Syria, but we do not allow the falsification of reality.”

In Syrian crisis, the UN has always tried to take the Western-backed terrorists’ side, and this is why it does not admit crimes by the terrorist groups— a behavior drawing strong-toned reaction from Damascus. Syria’s deputy UN envoy during a meeting of the Security Council on Monday, in a speech lashed out at the body’s “politically-motivated”

Interviews, News, Perspectives 0 comments on Perspectives: OPEC+ and U.S.-Saudi Relations

Perspectives: OPEC+ and U.S.-Saudi Relations

A Fractious, if Enduring Partnership

Professor David Des Roches, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Gulf International Forum and an Associate Professor at Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies

Like any close bilateral relationship, the U.S.-Saudi partnership has experienced peaks and troughs, and due to misperceptions on both sides, Washington and Riyadh are currently in a trough. The Biden administration believed that meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in July would wipe the slate clean and return relations to a familiar pattern, wherein the Kingdom responds favorably to American requests regarding the global oil market. The Saudis, on the other hand, seem to feel that Biden’s discussion of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi immediately after the meeting was a breach of protocol, negating any positive effect the meeting may have had. The Biden team returned to Washington, having irritated much of their domestic base while mistakenly feeling they had improved their relationship with the Kingdom when in reality they had not.

On the other hand, the Saudis seem to have once again mistaken their demonstrable influence in American security and foreign policy circles for influence over America at large. Outside of narrow government and foreign policy elites, there is no constituency in America —outside of narrow government and foreign policy elites—that is sympathetic to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis also appear to have missed the widely held American conviction that high energy prices only bolster Vladimir Putin, and maintaining these high prices serves only to perpetuate Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The pressures of upcoming midterm elections have only exacerbated the rift between Washington and Riyadh. The upcoming vote has always looked difficult for the ruling Democratic Party—the opposition party has gained ground in every midterm election since 2006— but now price increases in that most inelastic and price-visible commodity, gasoline, have only fueled their electoral worries. Having prematurely drawn from the strategic petroleum reserve over the summer, the Biden administration appears to have no option other than to weather the storm. This is cold comfort for legislators such as Rep. Tom Malinowski, who is considered by pollsters to be the most vulnerable Democratic member of Congress and who, perhaps not entirely coincidentally, has proposed legislation aimed at curtailing U.S.-Saudi ties. More reckless legislation has been proposed in Congress by other legislators, most of whom lack Malinowski’s long commitment to human rights work, in the full knowledge that these performative acts stand little chance of passage.

When misperceptions collide, the results are rarely pretty. Both sides will feel aggrieved and may speak out against each other in less-than-diplomatic terms. Bills that restrict the United States’ relations with the Kingdom will be opposed by the administration on institutional grounds, as the executive generally resists restrictions on its conduct of foreign policy. The few Saudis who speak on behalf of the Kingdom’s leadership will continue their customary silence. Both sides recognize the strategic importance of the bilateral relationship, and both sides know that the relationship is one based on interests, not sentiment, and that the partnership must endure moments of friction and disagreement such as this.

At the same time, both sides must remain free to signal their displeasure to the other, as well as to their respective publics. The difficulty both sides face lies in announcing dissatisfaction without causing permanent damage to the relationship. It is unlikely that drastic actions that permanently alter relations will take place today; the U.S.-Saudi partnership has been carefully developed and maintained over decades, and survived extreme Congressional and bureaucratic scrutiny in the past. Observers can expect to see the suspension of high-level visits and talks, which many within the U.S. government already regard as burdensome and ineffective. Though cold winds may be blowing now, this weather will change with a new season, and the shared interests which bind the United States and the Kingdom will continue to bring the two countries together. The relationship may need calibration, but it will endure.

Little Time, Even Less Political Capital

Dr. Courtney Freer, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Gulf International Forum and Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Emory University

In light of the recent U.S.-Saudi spat over oil prices, Saudi Arabia has two paths forward. Riyadh may continue its policy of determining oil production and pricing independent of Washington, while deflecting criticism that this policy aims to influence American domestic politics, or it may side more decisively with Russia to achieve its own economic and geostrategic objectives. The problem is, however, that the trust deficit between the two countries has grown so great that either course of action is unlikely to change U.S. perceptions. Indeed, the Saudi delegation at the UN General Assembly last month voted in favor of a U.S.-drafted resolution condemning Russia’s invasion, occupation, and annexation of parts of Ukraine. Earlier this month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky $400 million in non-lethal humanitarian aid. In spite of these actions, seemingly calibrated toward currying favor in the United States as much as helping Ukraine, American political leaders and media institutions have continued to argue that the recent OPEC+ production cuts have imperiled the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

In an attempt to move beyond the recent impasse, the Saudi leadership could try to change the conversation about the U.S.-Saudi strategic partnership, as the bilateral relationship rests on shared strategic interests, not simply oil prices. Focusing on multilateral security cooperation in the Gulf, or attempting to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, could be useful in this regard. Thus far, however, each side seems insistent on emphasizing its right to pursue independent and self-serving foreign policies, rather than seeking a means to work through their differences.

The Twilight of American Power in the Gulf

Dr. Mohammad Alrumaihi, Former Advisor for Kuwait’s Council of Ministers and Professor at Kuwait University and Professor of Sociology at Kuwait University

The current diplomatic crisis between the United States and Saudi Arabia over the price of oil is not the first bilateral schism and will not be the last. In the 1980s, I published a volume that analyzed the politics of oil and international relations. The work discussed the relationships between oil-producing countries and British and American oil companies, with an emphasis on how interests affected the durability of these relations. Production of oil in the last century was subject to the whims of British and American oil companies. This dynamic had a significant impact on the relations between the West and non-Western oil-producing states. For instance, in the last century when Saudi Arabia requested that the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) reallocate oil dividends more fairly, Aramco agreed. However, when other oil producing countries made similar requests of British oil companies, they were often rejected. This deprived these fledgling states of economic resources vital to their development. In turn, oil-producing states suffered from political unrest and revolutions, and they often took the drastic step of nationalizing their oil sectors. During this era, the U.S. was at the peak of its power in the Middle East and was comfortable making concessions and reaching compromises with the states it favored. By contrast, the UK was a declining power—a fact that led to intransigence from London, which felt that it had to preserve its fleeting status through tough negotiations and stonewalling.

Today, the U.S. is acting like the UK of the 20th century. In its dealings within the Middle East, it has been stubborn, loath to compromise, and suspicious of a wider erosion of American power. The last few administrations have exhibited an increasing tendency toward obstinacy. Many internal and international developments—the rise of China, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and domestic inflation chief among them—have led to the relative decline of American power, prompting Washington’s harsh reaction to the OPEC+ oil production cuts.

It is also noteworthy that Saudi Arabia is only one of 14 countries in OPEC+. In their public statements, Saudi officials have emphasized the collective decision-making of the group and argued that Riyadh has been unfairly singled out for criticism by Washington. At the same time, the United States continues to benefit from increased natural gas exports to Europe while gas prices are at a record high, leading some U.S. partners in Europe to complain about high U.S. gas prices.

In the end, the overreaction to the OPEC+ decision is the clearest indication yet of a political bubble that has enveloped Washington. If the Biden administration views the OPEC+ production cuts as a tool to weaken the White House ahead of the midterm elections, it has sorely misjudged the situation.

What to Expect From the Re-evaluation of U.S.-Saudi Ties

Charles W. DunneNon-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute

Is this a crisis point in US-Saudi relations? President Joe Biden promised to review bilateral relations with the Kingdom after it recently sided with Russia within OPEC+ to restrict global oil supplies, ignoring pleas from Washington to delay the move. The Saudis, in their own passive-aggressive way, have made clear their disdain for Biden, and today appear to be drawing closer to both Russia and China. The fabric of bilateral relations between the two long-term partners has been frayed as never before. Where do the United States and Saudi Arabia go from here?

If it is to be taken seriously by Riyadh, the Biden administration must make good on its pledge to impose “consequences” for the OPEC+ decision. There are a number of levers Washington could pull to punish Saudi Arabia. Suspending all arms sales while reviewing whether these support broader U.S. regional goals, instead of simply fulfilling royal wish lists, would be one course of action. Another would be a serious, public consideration of downsizing the U.S. military and training presence in the Kingdom and transferring assets elsewhere in the region—, for example to Qatar, which already hosts the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East and was recently declared a major non-NATO ally. A third would see the United States push back more aggressively against Saudi repression at home and intimidation of dissidents abroad, both of which are affronts to international human rights standards and the Biden administration’s foreign policy goals. Such actions should be accompanied by a comprehensive review of the overall Saudi-American political-military relationship, analyzing whether it continues to serve U.S. interests to the extent it once did.

We should not expect fundamental changes to America’s relationship with the Kingdom, however. The accumulated weight of decades of U.S. acquiescence to Riyadh’s wishes, and the largely unquestioned linkage of U.S. and Saudi interests, may prove highly resistant to strategic restructuring. In spite of surface-level tensions between Washington and Riyadh, most policymakers at the State Department and the National Security Council continue to assume that Riyadh remains an indispensable bulwark of regional stability and will obligingly support the United States on the most important issues. These voices find support from the U.S. defense industry, as well as the dozens of former senior American military officials who have found lucrative employment in the service of the Kingdom. In any case, the Biden administration’s promised “review” of U.S.-Saudi relations appears to have no structure, momentum, or timetable at present, and may very well fail to get off the ground.

One thing is certain: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is undertaking his own re-evaluation of the bilateral relationship, and he appears to be working from a different set of assumptions. Biden and his administration would do well to hasten their own review before MBS makes all the decisions for them.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Gulf International Forum.

Perspectives 0 comments on Is the Iran deal worth salvaging? .. By Ishaan Tharoor

Is the Iran deal worth salvaging? .. By Ishaan Tharoor

This image supplied by the Iran International Photo Agency shows a view of the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in August 2010 in Iran. (IIPA/Getty Images)
This image supplied by the Iran International Photo Agency shows a view of the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in August 2010 in Iran. (IIPA/Getty Images)

After almost 17 months of diplomatic wrangling, there could be glimmers of hope for a nuclear deal with Iran. On Wednesday, U.S. officials said they had sent back a response to Iranian comments on a E.U.-led draft agreement that would salvage the 2015 agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program. The trading of response documents could precede another round of talks in Vienna aimed at restoring the terms of the original deal, which placed hard curbs on Iran’s ability to enrich fissile material to weapons-grade levels in return for sanctions relief.

Those terms were unilaterally broken in 2018 by former president Donald Trump, who rejected the pact forged by the Obama administration and other international powers even as Iran was believed to be abiding by its restrictions. That move was opposed by the deal’s European, Chinese and Russian signatories, but cheered on by a clutch of regional powers united in their animus toward Iran — including Israel, then led by right-wing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Arab monarchies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The Trump administration, at the time, claimed Iran wouldn’t dare restart its forbidden nuclear activity. But by 2019, shorn of incentives not to, Iran installed faster centrifuges in its facilities and commenced enrichment activities that violated the agreement’s strictures. Under the 2015 deal, the so-called “breakout” time for Iran to create enough for fuel for a potential nuclear bomb was measured in months, even close to a year. Now, it’s a matter of weeks, officials and analysts claim.

Biden came to office in 2021 vowing to return to the agreement and rein back Iran’s enrichment surge. But domestic politics intervened in both countries — an immediate deal with sanctions relief for Iran was a non-starter in Washington, while hard-liners in Tehran, who long opposed the original deal and doubted the worth of any diplomacy with the Americans, swept away the regime’s so-called “reformist-pragmatist” camp in elections. Polling of Iranian attitudes this summer found that fewer than half of the Iranians surveyed believe the deal will be restored, while more than two-thirds expressed doubt that the United States would abide by its commitments.

Robert Malley, Biden’s special envoy for Iran, warned late last year in an interview with the New Yorker that the Iranians were “emptying the deal of the nonproliferation benefits for which we bargained.” He acknowledged that at some future point diplomacy on this matter would “be tantamount to trying to revive a dead corpse.”

Evidently, the Biden administration doesn’t believe we’ve reached that stage yet. But the prospect of the deal’s restoration has revived the angry debates surrounding its initial brokering. Republican lawmakers have expressed their outrage over any agreement that doesn’t have congressional oversight. David Barnea, chief of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, was quoted by Israeli media on Thursday warning that a looming deal would be “a strategic disaster.” A flurry of comments from Israel’s political elites, including Prime Minister Yair Lapid, urged the United States to back away from the negotiating table.

There’s no small irony to their current objections. Trump broke the accord in 2018 with Netanyahu’s goading even amid “a clear consensus within Israel’s security and defense establishment at the time that leaving the agreement was a giant error,” wrote Haaretz journalist Amir Tibon. Now, he added, it may be replaced by an agreement that “some experts warn … will be worse for Israel and create a more dangerous Middle East.”

“Israel, and opponents of a new deal in Congress, have said that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions will provide Iran with hundreds of billions of dollars to finance terrorist activities, and the early expiration of some of its provisions will quickly allow Iran to revive plans to manufacture a nuclear weapon,” my colleague Karen DeYoung reported.

“Administration officials dispute the dollar calculations and say that the reinstatement of limits on the Iranian nuclear program, even with some expiration dates, will provide several years’ relief from an imminent nuclear threat and room for further negotiations,” she added.

The Trump administration and its fellow travelers who took a hammer to the agreement are reaping what they sowed. “Their actions not only almost prompted a war, but as a result of the Trump administration’s poor decision-making, Iran expanded its nuclear program in an unprecedented manner,” Holly Dagres, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told me. “Love or hate the JCPOA” — the acronym for the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers — “it’s the best path forward at preventing Iran from potentially developing nuclear weapons.”

Had Trump not withdrawn from the deal, Dagres added, the inherent “confidence-building exercise” that the JCPOA entailed would have continued, perhaps leading to negotiations on other fronts. “Whether those discussions would’ve been constructive is unclear, but it’s safe to say that Iran would not be considered a nuclear threshold state as it is by some today,” she said.

Yet there’s a parallel sense that hawks in Washington got exactly what they wanted. “On its own terms, [the Trump administration’s decision to leave the deal] has been very successful,” argued John Ghazvinian, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center.

It scrapped any prospect of rapprochement between Tehran and Washington, tightened cooperation between Israel and the U.S.’s Gulf allies and raised the likelihood of future covert Israeli or even American action against Iran. New tensions came to the fore and defined a fractious state of play — from Iran’s own violent plots abroad and the militancy of its Middle Eastern proxies to U.S. reprisals, including strikes this week on Iran-backed factions in northeastern Syria.

Now, the Iranian regime and the Biden administration are simply “trying to secure their very basic and immediate needs,” Ghazvinian told me. The Biden administration wants to rein in Iran’s march toward being able to produce a nuclear weapon, while Iran would welcome loosened sanctions on its economy and oil exports.

Ghazvinian, author of “America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present,” noted that the world is in a different place from 2015 or 2009 — when the Obama administration entered a diplomatic process with European partners and Russia and China on Iran’s nuclear program. “We have become consumed with the details of the nuclear issue, lawyered this thing to death, and forgotten what the larger point was” — that is, he said, that the Obama administration believed the nuclear agreement could build a foundation for a wider strategic dialogue that would address concerns over Iran’s destabilizing activities.

That dialogue is nowhere in sight, while strategists in both countries have long since shifted their priorities — in Washington, away from the Middle East; in Tehran, toward greater accommodation with some of its neighbors and closer ties to China. It’s hard “to resolve an exceptionally complex technical issue in the context of an exceptionally dysfunctional political atmosphere,” Ghazvinian said, referring to the nuclear deal and the broader chasm between the United States and Iran. “We need to move beyond the JCPOA, we need to move past it.”

1,000 Words

In a private plane soaring over pine-swathed mountains, three tawny Mexican wolf pups slept. Their weight was less than three pounds each, their 10-day-old eyes still shut. Their worth, as some of the newest members of a critically endangered species, was immeasurable.

The Washington Post got a rare up-close view of the mission to reintroduce Mexican wolf pups from the El Paso Zoo to the wild this spring — one that involved dozens of humans in four states; transportation by golf cart, pickup, Cessna aircraft and backpack; and a lot of hope. (Photos by Matt McClain)

Talking Points
• Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, was cut off from the country’s electricity grid, setting off a mass power outage in the adjacent area after fires damaged its last functioning transmission line, Ukraine’s nuclear power company said. Fighting in the vicinity of the plant — an area now occupied by invading Russian forces — has led to acute worries of a potential catastrophe.

• Myanmar’s military junta has arrested a former British ambassador and her husband, according to several people aware of the situation. A government spokesman said the couple was being charged with violating the country’s immigration act.

• It is a rare moment in the electoral spotlight for Israel’s Palestinian citizens. As Israel gears up for another election in November the big question for many is whether Benjamin Netanyahu will make a comeback — and the role the nation’s long-marginalized Arab voters may play in blocking or facilitating his return. Many, however, are frustrated at being viewed only in the context of Netanyahu’s political fortunes while their grievances, including discrimination, remain unaddressed.

• Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan was granted temporary protection from arrest by Islamabad’s anti-terrorism court, a move expected to ease escalating tensions between the former leader and current government after the power struggle threatened to erupt into violence this week.

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Toiling in India’s heat
Photos and videos by Smita Sharma
Photos and videos by Smita Sharma

The New Delhi heat was unrelenting this spring and summer. Day in and day out, the city woke up to a steamy sunrise and went to bed in sweltering darkness — the most persistent, widespread and severe heat event in India’s recorded history.

To better understand the toll such temperatures take on the nearly half of India’s workforce that toils outdoors, The Washington Post spent two of the hottest days in June following delivery driver Mohammad Hussain and bricklayer Ganesh Shaw as they labored in the broiling sun. Every 30 minutes, The Post measured the surrounding wet bulb globe temperature — an index of heat exposure that takes into account air temperature, humidity and the force of the sun’s radiation.

The men spent most of their days in conditions that would test even world-class athletes. Evening brought no relief; both returned to homes with no air conditioning, as is the case for three-quarters of the nation’s households.

Their experiences illuminate what a growing body of scientific literature is starting to show: Across India and around the world, summer has become a season of peril, when society’s poorest and most vulnerable members must live and work in conditions that push the limits of human endurance.

Given no choice but to work in the heat, Hussain and Shaw have found ways to cope. But if humanity does not drastically reduce planet-warming emissions, experts say, some places may become too hot for workers like them to make a living.

MORNING: 8 a.m. – Noon
Just after 8 a.m., as traffic starts to clog the city streets, Hussain pulls an orange Swiggy uniform over his head and swings a leg over his motorcycle.

For the next eight hours, as the mercury tops 40.6C, the delivery man for one of India’s largest food and grocery apps will zigzag across South Delhi, delivering cold drinks, potato chips, and 20-pound bags of wheat flour. The heat and humidity are a dangerous combination — so high that the human body cannot cool itself through sweating.

Greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from burning fossil fuels, are to blame for the extreme conditions, scientists say. At its peak this spring, India’s heat wave in some places pushed 45C.

Hussain’s phone buzzes and the screen lights up: He has his first job for the day, delivering breakfast to a young engineer. The street is getting hotter and busier. His friends offer him a bottle of water they froze overnight.

By 10 a.m., Shaw has already been working for about two hours.

A native of the poor state of Bihar, Shaw does construction, like millions from the northern Indian countryside who move to Delhi in search of a steady income. As India’s capital grows, it relies on a vast pool of informal laborers who bounce from site to site, enduring extreme heat. For a day’s work, Shaw earns about $10.

Given the intense sun, his body has a hard time protecting itself.

His core temperature starts to rise, and tiny blood vessels just below his skin expand, allowing for heat exchange with the surrounding air. His heart begins to pump harder. But this “dry heat exchange” isn’t sufficient to keep Shaw’s temperature in check. So he sweats.

Though the evaporation of sweat keeps Shaw’s body from overheating, it can have its own health costs if that water is not replaced.

Since early June, Shaw has felt dull pain in his lower abdomen. A doctor said he might have a urinary tract infection or a kidney ailment.

It would not be surprising if Shaw had developed kidney problems from his constant heat exposure, said physiologist Ollie Jay, director of the Heat and Health Research Incubator at the University of Sydney. Studies from Central America, Sri Lanka and India have revealed rising rates of chronic kidney disease going back to the 1970s.

In many hot and humid regions, the problem has become so widespread it’s considered an epidemic. — Gerry Shih, Sarah Kaplan, Ruby Mellen and Anu Narayanswamy. Photos and videos by Smita Sharma. Design by Yutao Chen.

Read more: What it’s like to toil in India’s dangerous, unrelenting heat


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Perspectives 0 comments on Algerian leader in bold move to promote English at junior school ..By Ahmed RouabaIon

Algerian leader in bold move to promote English at junior school ..By Ahmed RouabaIon

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has announced that the former French colony will start teaching English in primary schools later this year.

« French is a spoil of war, but English is an international language, » he said.

Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 after a bloody eight-year war that continues to complicate relations between the two countries.

The continued use of French at institutions and the administration of business is a sensitive topic.

Arabic and Tamazight, which is spoken by the Amazigh or Berber minority, are the country’s official languages.

Tebboune, in an interview recorded by state-run TV on Saturday, was responding to growing demands from academics and undergraduates.

They say English should be offered as a subject earlier as it is the language of instruction at university for those studying medicine and engineering.

Under the current curriculum, English is offered at secondary school to students from the age of 14, while pupils start French when they are nine years old.

The president’s comments come from an extract of a wide-ranging interview to be broadcast in full later on Sunday.

A similar initiative was launched in the early 1990s for parents to be given the right to choose between French and English for their children at junior school.

But it caused outrage in France and a pro-French lobby within the Algerian government called for the scheme to be dropped. In the end the education minister was sacked.

News, opinion, Perspectives 0 comments on The Non-Alignment Posture of Algeria’s Foreign Policy ..By Dr. Arslan Chikhaoui

The Non-Alignment Posture of Algeria’s Foreign Policy ..By Dr. Arslan Chikhaoui

The map of geopolitical alliances is being reshaped following the Russia-Ukraine Crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. With the potential development of a multi-polar world, Algeria is reaffirming its affiliations and defining its strategic and geo-economic areas of interest yet remains committed to its positions of non-alignment. It is clear that Algeria will continue to defend and promote the resolution of crises and conflicts of varying intensities, in particular, in the Arab World, Africa, the Sahel, and the Mediterranean through political solutions rather than military ones. Inclusive dialogue and political reconciliation are the paths that Algeria will continue to advocate. Despite this new geopolitical dynamic, Algeria undoubtedly remains a key player in the processes of reconciliation and stability given its experience and its proven expertise over the past fifty years.

Since its independence in 1962, Algeria has mobilized and will certainly continue to deploy its diplomacy to promote the principles of self-determination, respect for borders inherited from colonial divisions, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, non-interventionism, and non-alignment posture. Its struggle for independence produced an uncompromising foreign policy against foreign interference. Faced with the new challenges of a rapidly changing region, issues of security, integration, and regional convergence, Algeria is in a phase of adapting and consolidating its foreign policy doctrine for its strategic repositioning on the international scene which is being “reshaped”.

The diplomatic dynamic initiated by Algeria since the Covid-19 health crisis with its economic diplomacy, proximity diplomacy, parliamentary diplomacy, civil society diplomacy, preventive diplomacy, and multilateral diplomacy, shows its desire to position itself on the international scene as a key partner in the region without calling into question the fundamental doctrinal principles of its foreign, defense and security policy in the face of new emerging players such as China, India, and Turkey, who are shaking up the established order.

In the absence of a systematic alignment which would be synonymous with a denial of the doctrinal principles on which Algeria has built its foreign policy since its independence, or an intransigent opposition which would isolate it, Algeria seems to be moving more and more toward a policy of non-dogmatic interests.

Breathing new life into the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and defining new paradigms for its adaptation to the new era would be the approach for which Algeria seems to be opting. As a result, it clearly displays both its posture of non-alignment, as is the case of the Russia-Ukraine Crisis, but also its belonging to areas of strategic interest such as the Mediterranean, the Sahel, Africa, and the Arab World. The visit in June 2022 of Venezuelan President Maduro to Algiers and the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement between the two countries is a clear message of the revitalization of the Non-Aligned Movement. Algeria’s membership to this movement and its commitment to its objectives are enshrined in the founding act of the Algerian State, which is the Declaration of November 1954 to recover its independence from French colonialism

Today, and taking into account a context carrying the risk of confrontation between the actors of world powers and for many African or Asian countries which refuse to choose to belong to one camp or another, Algeria is called upon to sponsor this movement of non-aligned countries which was born with the Afro-Asian Conference of Bandung in 1955. Algeria’s commitment is part of the logic of its geostrategic repositioning as a pivotal actor thanks to its attachment to the three demands defended by this movement, namely: decolonization, multilateralism, and economic development.

During his visit to Turkey in May 2022, Algerian President Tebboune stated that: “Our policy is Non-alignment and we are not going to give it up”. Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine politico-military crisis and despite the historical relations that bind it with Russia, Algeria has remained equidistant from the belligerents. As proof, at the end of March 2022, Algeria welcomed the visit of the US Secretary of State Blinken, followed in May by that of the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov. On these occasions, Algerian President Tebboune declared that: “Russia and the United States are our friends, all the others are our friends, except the one with whom we have a problem because of Palestine. Whoever wants to judge us let him do it. We are trying as best we can to reinvigorate the Non-Aligned Movement. We see where the world is heading. Regardless of the number of poles, we are equidistant from all. Our commercial interests work with everyone, but when it comes to political interests and stability, we look first and foremost at our interests, the interests of the Algerian people.” Concomitantly, the Chief of Staff of the Algerian Army, General Chengriha, had also reaffirmed the neutrality of Algeria vis-à-vis international conflicts, when he received the Director General of the International Military Staff of NATO, General Wiermann: “On the international level, Algeria continues to adopt a policy of neutrality. Our country takes care to exclude itself from the tensions that oppose the different parties.” For his part, the President of the Senate (Upper House) Goudjil indicated to the Cuban Ambassador in Algiers, Vergara, the need to draw inspiration from the principles of the non-aligned countries and that the countries of the Third World will have to better prepare themselves for profound changes that the world is currently experiencing. The Speaker of the Upper House, during a recent telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Sentopa, also stressed: “the need to work together to develop a new concept of non-alignment which is adapted to the new international situation.”

All these concomitant political statements show that there is a consensus among the Algerian ruling elite on the issue of the non-alignment posture of Algeria and its desire to bring the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries up to date.

In addition, by organizing the meeting in Algiers of the Arab League scheduled for 01 November 2022 aligning with the celebration of the 68th anniversary of the outbreak of the revolution against French colonization and also the 44th anniversary of the Declaration of Algiers of November 15th, 1988 by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) retained by the State of Palestine as its declaration of independence, marks the constancy of Algeria’s position for the self-determination and independence of the peoples. Moreover, by organizing the Mediterranean Games in June 2022, Algeria marks its membership of this strategic space in which it is one of the important players with regard to the issues and challenges that will be faced by the two shores bordering the Mediterranean Sea commonly referred to as “the Lake”. Conflicts and their malevolent corollaries around the Lake are becoming serious issues for the development of renewed, peaceful, and balanced cooperation between the northern and southern shores. The Mediterranean remains an issue at three levels: strategic, economic, and ecological. All this means that Algeria cannot be on the sidelines and clearly affirms it.

Algeria is gradually moving towards a new era where it is trying to adapt to the new global context. It displays it with some signals to the international community such as, for example, its adherence to NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue; its call for the resolution of low and medium intensity conflicts in Libya, Mali, and Yemen through inclusive political dialogue; and to offer its good offices as a facilitator with regard to its experience and expertise in this field (e.g. Iran-Iraq, Iran-USA, Ethiopia-Eritrea, and others); the implementation of Arab and African free trade agreements (GZALE and ZLECAf); its desire to revisit the Association Agreement with the European Union to adapt it to the new challenges; and resume dialogue with WTO for its possible accession to membership status. Algeria is already relying on privileged platforms to activate at the regional and sub-regional level (African Union, 5+5 Cooperation, CEMOC, Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Initiative, Afripol) and intends to re-launch with new paradigms.

In short, the global geopolitical and geo-economic context is shifting and Algeria’s positions of principle remain irrevocably constant, which explains its commitment to energizing a new concept of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries.

The views presented in this article are those of the speaker or author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.

This entry was posted in Africa, Algeria, Alumni Publications and tagged Africa, Algeria, Arab World, COVID-19 pandemic, diplomacy, Foreign policy, non-aligned countries, non-alignment, Russia-Ukraine Crisis, the Mediterranean, the Sahel. Bookmark the permalink.

Interviews, News, opinion, Perspectives 0 comments on Putin claims progress made in talks over lifting Ukrainian wheat blockade

Putin claims progress made in talks over lifting Ukrainian wheat blockade

Russian president makes comments in Tehran, where he had a meeting with leaders from Turkey and Iran

Russia-Ukraine war: live news
Vladimir Putin leaves his presidential plane after arriving in Tehran on Tuesday.
Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor
Tue 19 Jul 2022 19.58 BST
Vladimir Putin has claimed on a trip to Tehran that progress has been made that may allow Russia to lift the blockade on Ukrainian wheat, an issue that is threatening famine across Africa.

“I want to thank you for your mediation efforts,” the Russian president told Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his Turkish counterpart, in comments released by the Kremlin.


“With your mediation, we have moved forward,” Putin said. “Not all issues have yet been resolved, but the fact that there is movement is already good.”

It was only Putin’s second visit outside Russia since his invasion of Ukraine and reflected his determination to show he is not as isolated as the west claims, but retains an influence in the region after the visit to the Middle East last week by Joe Biden.

Putin held bilateral talks not only with Erdoğan, but also with the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi.

Khamenei offered Putin support over the Ukraine conflict. “War is a harsh and difficult issue, and Iran is not at all pleased that ordinary people suffer from it, but in the case of Ukraine, if you had not taken the initiative, the other side would have caused the war with its own initiative,” he said.

“If the road is open to Nato, it knows no boundaries and if it was not stopped in Ukraine, they would start the same war some time later under the pretext of Crimea.”


Putin was reported to have replied: “No one is in favour of war, and the loss of ordinary people’s lives is a great tragedy, but the behaviour of the west made us have no choice but to react. Some European countries said that that they had been against Ukraine’s membership of Nato, but then agreed under American pressure, which shows their lack of independence.”

Although there was broad agreement about Ukraine, tensions were on display when Khamenei warned Turkey against an incursion into northern Syria.

Erdoğan, possibly taking advantage of Putin’s distractions in Ukraine, has been threatening a new military offensive in northern Syria to drive away US-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters from Turkey’s borders. The operation is part of Turkey’s plan to create a safe zone along its border with Syria that would encourage the voluntary return of Syrian refugees, a move that would be popular inside Turkey as Erdoğan prepares for difficult elections next year.

But in a meeting with Khamenei he was warned against such a move. “Any sort of military attack in northern Syria will definitely harm Turkey, Syria and the entire region, and will benefit terrorists,” Iran’s leader said, stressing the need to “bring the issue to an end through talks”. He said he also opposed any threat to the integrity of Syria.


In recent weeks Syrian Kurds have asked Iran and Russia to defend them against Turkish threats. Russian military officials have flown to the region in a bid to broker a deal between the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds that would make a Turkish incursion more difficult.

Erdoğan was also seeking a signal from Putin that he is willing to lift the Russian naval blockade preventing Ukrainian grain from leaving Black Sea ports. The EU said on Tuesday it is prepared to lift some sanctions on Russian banks in relation to the trade of food.

Turkey, a Nato member, has a special responsibility under the 1936 Montreux convention for naval traffic entering the Black Sea. It is proposing that Russia allows the Ukrainian grain ships to leave Odesa on designated routes so long as checks are made that the vessels are not carrying arms.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – the world’s biggest wheat supplier – has sent prices of grain soaring across the world, compounding pre-existing food crises. Dozens of ships have been stranded and 22m tonnes of grain are stuck in silos at Ukrainian ports.

Hulusi Akar, the Turkish defence minister, has said Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN will sign a deal this week on the grain exports corridor after talks in Istanbul. A coordination centre is to be opened in Istanbul allowing routing of those exports via the Black Sea.

Erdoğan also signed economic and trade cooperation agreements with Iran, and said he opposed western sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme. The US has again threatened to increase sanctions on Iran if it does not agree to revive the nuclear deal.

Putin was looking to use the talks to bolster regional opposition to any US-proposed defence pacts between Gulf states and Israel, an idea that some in Washington see as a necessary bulwark if Iran was to go ahead with its nuclear programme. Russia is a party to the nuclear talks that are stalled in Vienna due to a US refusal to lift sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards. The US says these sanctions were not imposed due to the nuclear deal but due to the Revolutionary Guards’ malign activities across the region.

In a memorandum of understanding sealed before Putin’s arrival, the National Iranian Oil Company signed an agreement potentially worth $40bn (£33bn) with Russia’s Gazprom.

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The talks may also touch on Iran’s long experience of circumventing US sanctions, and whether there is room for cooperation between Moscow and Tehran on defeating US measures. The long-term vision is for the two countries to reduce dependence on the dollar for trading, but in the short term there may be discussions over Russia buying Iranian drones for use in Ukraine.

The Russian ambassador to Tehran, Levan Dzhagaryan, said in an interview with Iran’s Shargh newspaper last Saturday that Iran and Russia were now in a “single fortress”.

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opinion, Perspectives 0 comments on Will Biden’s Regional Tour Revamp Declining Ties with Arab States?

Will Biden’s Regional Tour Revamp Declining Ties with Arab States?

The fast-moving transition of the world from unipolar order in which the US has economic and political dominance to the decline of the Western civilization and rise of a multipolar order caused many countries in the last decade to move to renew the regional and international alliances in line with rapid dynamics of the international order.

Though late, the Persian Gulf Arab countries have taken steps towards adjustment to the major changes of the international order, with the main example being the boost of their partnership with the emerging world powers like China, Russia, and India. The trade exchanges between China and the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council members have increased to $92 billion in 2010 and at least to $350 billion in 2020 from $6 billion in 2002.

Still, analysts suggest that the key driving force behind the US President Joe Biden’s current tour in the region and arranging a summit with (P) GCC plus Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan is gaining assurances about continuation of strategic cooperation of these countries with Washington and their avoidance of sliding into China-Russia camp.

Here is a question: Can Biden’s tour rebuild the badly damaged trust between the US and the Arab world?

The fact is that the divisive factors outweigh the uniting ones between Washington and the Arab states.

The US decline: No longer the world’s cop

After World War II, the US tried to establish its foothold around the globe by strengthening its military. Today, the Pentagon controls about 750 military bases in about 80 countries and foreign territories.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once haughtily said: “We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future… During this period, the American officials’ presumption of playing the world policeman role has been that were not for the US military, the world would be a lawless and dangerous place.”

She seems to have referred to a common law according to which the US military has the self-granted mandate to deploy forces to any point in the world and set up military bases wherever it wishes.

But just as the murder of the African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota by a police officer during arrest exacerbated the crisis of legitimacy for the American police at home, Trump’s presidency also stirred a crisis for the world’s most powerful military, as it was no longer able to demonstrate its ability to play the role of global policeman.

Disgraceful withdrawal from Afghanistan, fruitless presence in Syria in terms of equations on the ground, receiving blows from Axis of Resistance regional bloc, and the European drift to an independent defense mechanism build a belief in the Arab world that the US will cut its military in West Asia. Although Washington wants to show that in the absence of its forces on the ground, air power, especially drones, can provide support for the allies, the Arab countries are confident that its security guarantees are not as reassuring as in the past.

China, a rising economic superpower

The essential and key factor driving the White House push to stop growing Arab partnership with the American global rivals is economy. China is increasingly expanding its presence and economic partnership with regional states. As the 21st century is called the “century of Asia,” the rapid strengthening of China’s position in the world economy has led experts to suggest that Beijing will unseat Washington as the world economic leader sooner than predicted.

Just one aspect of China’s importance for the Coordination Council is its oil consumption growth rate which is currently 5.7— seven times faster than that of the US. The number of cars in China in 2010 was 90 time larger than in 1990 and it is predicted to outnumber the US in 2030. The car sales growth rate in China is 19 percent annually. The Asian power is resolved to copy South Korea and Taiwan economic and industrial growth models— indeed a domesticated model— to devise creative and sustainable growth as part of a tech-propelled economy. China’s growing demand for oil is a determining factor in its foreign policy. According to statistics, its need for oil in 2010 was between 4.5 to 7 million barrels and in 2020 between 8.6 to 9.10 million per day with a growth rate of 9.7 percent.

Furthermore, Chinese relations and exchanges with the Persian Gulf states goes beyond oil. China, for example, is the main destination of Saudi non-oil exports, especially plastic and petrochemical products. Chinese companies have a large presence in the Persian Gulf, especially in Dubai. Now, with the increasing global acceptance of participation in China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, Persian Gulf Arab states are striving for a share to not fall behind.

US interventionist policies

It should be known that the difference of political systems of the Persian Gulf Arab states with the Western countries and particularly the US has always been a disruptive factor in the ostensibly strategic relationship between the two sides. When facing questions from public opinion, support for democratization and human rights makes the main foreign policy pillars of the US justification of cooperation and alliance with largely suppressive and authoritarian Arab dictatorships. Despite sham and biased pro-rights advocacy of Washington, some criticism occasionally fray the ties with the Arab monarchies. An example is Biden’s raising of Khashoggi murder case during visit to Saudi Arabia. Jamal Khashoggi was a vocal Saudi critic of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was assassinated by a Saudi death squad in his country’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Also, the dictation of policy by the US to the Arab countries sometimes causes difficult conditions for Arab rulers. For instance, the Arab states are pressed by Biden during his visit to normalize with the Israeli regime and scale down all-out cooperation with China, and even to increase their oil output to fill the market void amid Ukraine war. These pressures do not exist in Arab relations with such powers as China and Russia and this is an encouraging factor for them to lean to Beijing and Moscow for sustainable economic and military cooperation.

Increasing distrust in the US

And finally, the diminishing Arab trust in the American military, security, and political support is a teaching result of fate of actors that involved in military and security challenges with their hopes set to Western support but received no assistance in the times of need. Ukraine and Afghanistan governments and Syrian Kurds are good examples of such frustrated actors. The distrust is also a result of the damaging experience of the US plans in the region, like invasion of Iraq, and decline to fulfill security promises when their security is endangered. After Yemeni retaliatory missile and drone strikes on Aramco oil facilities in 2019, Riyadh expected direct American engagement in a response but was let down by Washington inaction.

In their view of ties to the US, the Arab countries find return to the past status impossible, and, keeping up with the rapid international developments, they bolster relations with other important global powers.