Home Editorial Editorial: Iran-Saudi Arabia Peace Accord

Editorial: Iran-Saudi Arabia Peace Accord

Peace between Tehran and Riyadh boosts the economic prospects of Pakistan

by Editorial

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The Saudi Arabia-Iran rivalry that had hampered Islamabad’s ties with Tehran appears to be nearing resolution through a peace deal brokered by regional trading partner China. If successful, this development could change the regional political map, though with a period of painful readjustments.

According to Chinese officials, Beijing hosted the talks that yielded the agreement, further highlighting China’s diplomatic heft in a region traditionally aligned with the U.S. It calls for Iran and Saudi Arabia to, within two months, reopen their respective embassies and re-establish ties after seven years of rupture, representing a striking shift in Middle Eastern diplomacy and bringing an end to proxy conflicts. In Yemen and Syria, sectarian tensions will likely be downgraded, as Iran-backed Houthi rebels desist from attacks on Saudi soil. The Houthi militias that seized capital Sanaa in 2014, forcing the internationally recognized government into exile in Saudi Arabia, have actually welcomed the game-changing peace deal. The Gulf states of Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, U.A.E., and Oman, meanwhile, would readjust in line with new diplomatic developments.

The agreement also suggests a shift in the balance of power in the Gulf, where “nuclear” Israel has dominated. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu, a reactionary who has made the “threat posed by Tehran” a “personal crusade” is unlikely to be pleased with the development, especially with the U.S. reacting “normally” by welcoming the peace deal.

Sharing her views on the agreement in press engagements, Pakistan’s former representative to the U.N. and twice ambassador to the U.S., Maleeha Lodhi noted: “This is a game-changer for the region as well as the world. For Pakistan, it opens up new diplomatic and economic opportunities. For decades, Pakistan has followed a policy of balancing relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, treading very carefully between a strategic ally and a neighbor. Now the space opens up for Islamabad to consider new initiatives and also strengthen ties with Iran.” Needless to say, relations between China and the Gulf region are going to increase after the peace accord, with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor serving as the main artery for these engagements, boosting the prospects of near-default Islamabad.

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