A changing Middle Eastern landscape?
Apr 27, 2021
Saudi Arabia and Iran have recently been holding talks in Baghdad in an effort to mend relations between the two rivals, five years after they severed relations. The discussions occurred amid negotiations in Vienna, seeking to return the U.S. to the nuclear deal JCPOA and convince Iran to respect the nuclear commitments it deferred in response to American sanctions.
The Baghdad talks covered the six-year war in Yemen, which Riyadh wages against Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and Lebanon, where the influence of the Iranian-aligned Hezbollah movement is increasing. Having ended its over three-year regional embargo on Qatar – perceived as an Iranian ally – it appears as Saudi Arabia seeks to, at least partly, align its policies to those of the Biden administration, which intends to pressure the kingdom over human rights issues.
Prospects of de-escalation in the region depend on, among other things: 1) the next moves of Israel, which is suspected of blowing up an Iranian nuclear facility in mid-April; and 2) the outcome of Iran’s presidential elections in June, which are expected to bring about a hardliner.
Remember to monitor Middle Eastern politics closely – its development may have an impact on your business!