White House claims China-brokered Iran-Saudi deal is a welcome development

 March 12, 2023

White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby says he "welcomes" a new deal brokered by China to restore diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Kirby shared the remarks during a Friday interview on NBC's "MTP Now."

The comments

“Anything that can bring the tensions down in the region is welcome, Chuck. And if this can help us end that war in Yemen, if it can help the Saudi people feel more comfortable that they’re not going to be attacked from the Houthi rebels that are supported by Iran, then we welcome that. We think that’s good for the region," Kirby said.

"I think it’s important for people to remember that one of the reasons that Iran was willing to sit down at the table was, in fact, the pressure they were feeling internally from their own people and externally from the rest of the world by the way they were supporting Russia in Ukraine," he added.

The details

"Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed Friday to reestablish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies after seven years of tensions. The major diplomatic breakthrough negotiated with China lowers the chance of armed conflict between the Mideast rivals — both directly and in proxy conflicts around the region," the Associated Press reported.

"The deal, struck in Beijing this week amid its ceremonial National People’s Congress, represents a major diplomatic victory for the Chinese as Gulf Arab states perceive the United States slowly withdrawing from the wider Middle East. It also comes as diplomats have been trying to end a long war in Yemen, a conflict in which both Iran and Saudi Arabia are deeply entrenched," it added.

Mark Dubowitz, head of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, sees the Iran-Saudi deal as a loss for America on three fronts, according to the New York Post.

"It demonstrates that the Saudis don’t trust Washington to have their back, that Iran sees an opportunity to peel away American allies to end its international isolation and that China is becoming the major-domo of Middle Eastern power politics," it noted.

Iran is already providing Russia drones for its invasion of Ukriane and is on its way toward a nuclear bomb to threaten Israel and the West. Why would the White House see its diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia as a positive?

The move also comes as Israel's leadership has pushed for Saudi Arabia to join the Abraham Accords peace agreement to increase the circle of peace in the region, a move now made more difficult by the decision with Iran.

The White House should be condemning the news, not embracing it. China is not out to help the U.S., but to help its own interests in the region.

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