The United States has left the Middle East because there is no big and commensurate enemy. Photo/Reuters
DUBAI – The United States (US) military is no longer a force to be reckoned with in the Middle East. That’s because Washington chose to shift its military power to Asia to fight China.
As a result, US alliance partners in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have shown signs of anger. They think that the US is sterile and no longer wants to face Iran. The US lost its prestige as a superpower to protect its coalition partners.
Here are 4 main reasons why the US military is starting to become infertile in the Middle East.
1. Saudi is getting friendlier with China
Saudi Arabia is getting closer to joining a Chinese-led Asian economic and security bloc. Beijing has been granted dialogue partner status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to Riyadh.
SCO is an association of mostly former Soviet countries. The SCO includes Russia and China, as well as other major economic players such as India and Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia also significantly strengthened its energy ties with China for $3.6 billion to purchase 10% of China’s Rongsheng Petrochemical, which will supply the company with 480,000 bpd of crude oil.
Analysts say that as US competition with China and Russia intensifies in an increasingly polarized world, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries are choosing to diversify their global partnerships. But while countries like Saudi Arabia may be growing closer to China, Beijing is far from being a US rival in the region.
“The traditional monogamous relationship with the US has now come to an end,” said Ali Shihabi, an analyst and expert on Saudi politics, reported by CNN. “And we’ve forged a more open relationship; strong with the US but just as strong with China, India, Britain, France and others.”
Shihabi said the polarization was the reason various parties brought various forms of influence to the negotiating table. “The smart thing for Saudi is to put in place a portfolio of strategic relationships that all contribute to its security and prosperity in different ways.”
The Royal Ambassador to the United States, Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, said the review of US-Saudi relations was “a positive thing.” “This Saudi is not the kingdom it was five years ago, it is not the kingdom it was 10 years ago. So any existing analysis is no longer relevant,” he said, but stressed that the alliance with the US was broad and strong.
Then, Vali Nasr, an expert on Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University, said the US needed to rethink its Middle East policy because it had been based on a very different concept than Saudi Arabia.