President Biden’s National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, recently commented on the quieter Middle East region than in two decades, highlighting the US administration’s dystopic views on the changing world order. This quietness has become evident since October 7th, 2023, as years of neglect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its insensitive handling of the Abraham Accords have led to a tragic blowback.
A third, bloody, and unpredictable front could open, even as Washington tries to manage the conflict in Ukraine and raise tensions with China. Despite the potential escalation of the conflict, the geopolitical pattern of the region is already changing independently, with the expansion of hostilities to Lebanon with Hezbollah and beyond.
Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt have joined the BRICS format, signalling their readiness to engage in transnational foreign policy. This shift in interests and policies is driven by a more multipolar world order, a shift that has been influenced by the Abraham Accords. The Al Aqsa Flood operation has not significantly changed the Middle Eastern landscape, but if an Israeli land invasion of Gaza occurs, the dynamics may change in unpredictable ways.
Russia, China, and India may compete in a global oil production arena where the U.S. is accustomed to being a soloist, with BRICS-11 controlling 45% of global oil output. Most of these countries will also control most of the world’s commodities and renewable energy manufacturing capabilities.
The Middle East will continue to be crucial, leading to the emergence of competing commercial, energy, and technological corridors. Europe should recover its traditional mediating role, advocating for ceasefire, dialogue, and negotiated solutions.
The U.S. and top European powers issued a terse statement on the tragic events in the Middle East, with only 37 words dedicated to vaguely outlining a peace perspective and political solution. Europe’s policy in the Middle East should not be reduced to projecting national flags on government buildings.
The future of the Middle East is uncertain, with potential scenarios including Israel launching a devastating land invasion of Gaza, coordinated by the Axis of Resistance, and the US potentially siding with Israel by attacking the Axis of Resistance. This could impact Saudi Arabia’s decision to continue talks with the US and Israel to join the Abraham Accords.
China, Russia, and India may decide to increase their political role in the region, fearing that siding too much with Israel could weaken their peace broker role. Global geopolitics already has a hot front in Ukraine and a lukewarm one in the US-China relationship, leading to further destabilization.