Washington and a Changing Middle East: A Dramatically Shifting Narrative? By James Durso

A comprehensive and trenchant analysis of the evolving Middle East. From James Durso at unz.com:

A new order may be emerging in the Middle East, but how it is emerging does not fit the core narrative written by Washington.

Two decades after the U.S. invaded Iraq in search of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that didn’t exist, and to implement the George W. Bush “freedom agenda” the region is starting to self-organize.

Recently China mediated the beginning of normalization of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Russia is reportedly trying to bring Syria and Turkey closer together, and is involved in between talks between Saudi Arabia and Syria. Saudi Arabia and Yemen are in normalization talks, and the warring Yemeni parties are discussing a prisoner swap. Syria and Tunisia will exchange ambassadors a decade after Tunis severed ties. Qatar and Bahrain are resuming diplomatic relations. And Syria’s neighbors are ready to invite Damascus to reenter the mainstream of the Arab Middle East, and it may soon rejoin the Arab League possibly as early as May.

Washington probably sees a downside in these diplomatic developments as they offer relief to Iran and Syria, and because the mediators, China and Russia, will emerge more influential by pursuing peace, while the U.S. is prosecuting its war against Russia in Ukraine, and is preparing for a conflict with China in the Taiwan Strait.

All four projects will take time to bear fruit and there will be starts and stops along the way. Washington was lukewarm about the Iran-Saudi Arabia talks, though the U.S. claimed credit for encouraging Tehran and Riyadh to start talking, though it was Iraq and Oman that did the work in the early days. (A State Department official made the startling admission, “…diplomacy is not a tool you use only with your friends and in happy times,” which no doubt came as news to local leaders.)

A lessening of tensions in the region may mean a smaller military and security role for the U.S., though one observer noted that all the U.S. presence produced was “dead people, refugees, and instability.” But, importantly, the Iran – Saudi Arabia deal will ensure a key U.S. objective, promoting the “free flow of oil and liquefied natural gas,” though it remains to be seen if the price of that is less influence for Washington in the affairs of the Middle East.

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