Five Reasons for Welcoming Saudi Arabia-Iran Accord

Iran And Saudi Arabia To Restore Ties

The entirely avoidable, artificial enmity between Saudi Arabia and Iran has hopefully come to an end as a result of the accord reached with the help of China. All three involved countries have authoritarian regimes, but despite this the accord should be widely welcomed. There are several strong reasons for this.

First and foremost is the fact that the prospects for ending the civil war in Yemen, at least partially a proxy war with Saudi Arabia and Iran on opposite sides, have improved. Well, there are several complexities and we should not be over-optimistic; much remains to be done to achieve lasting peace. Nevertheless the prospects for ending the civil war and the resulting very serious humanitarian crisis in Yemen have improved significantly, and this is the first reason for welcoming this accord. The Middle-East has enough wealth and all must contribute generously to the reconstruction and rehabilitation effort in Yemen, making it a community –led effort.

Secondly, the wider prospects for reducing in significant ways the Sunni-Shia divide have improved at world level. While there are several historical reasons for this divide, the forces of imperialism have done much to deepen this divide. In fact imperialism prospers by deeply studying such divides, not with the aim of reducing them but with the aim of deepening such sectarian divides—we in South Asia have not yet recovered from the British Raj’s persistent efforts of this kind to deepen Hindu-Muslim divide. Hopefully now with Iran-Saudi Arabia accord there will be better understanding of this in the Middle-East so that people and governments can resist such efforts to divide people along Shia-Sunni or other lines.

Thirdly, with this accord there is overall improvement of peace and stability in the Middle-East region. Seclusion of Syria is ending. True democracy is still a far cry in almost all countries and most of them have authoritarian regimes, but still if they are able to live on better terms with each other it is one step ahead for peace and stability in the long-troubled region.

Fourthly, one hopes that the emerging conditions will also lead to more support and solidarity for the Palestinian struggle and the rights of the Palestinian people.

Last but not the least, this accord should be welcomed because it is yet another blow to the forces of imperialism which have for long sought to use the middle-east region to pursue and advance their imperialist ambitions, in the process bringing endless distress and destruction to the people of this region—to the people of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Palestine and others.

One hopes that this accord will herald a new era of peace and reduced imperialist influence, and will also lead ultimately to genuine democratic reforms ( not of the kind controlled by imperialist countries) particularly in countries most in need of this like Egypt. One also hopes that the long-suffering minorities like the Kurds will get more justice at the hands of various countries of the region.

It will be a mistake, however, if the previous imperial powers are now replaced by increasing influence of China. The countries of the region should avoid getting identified too closely with China or with any faction of super-power rivalries. They should seek their future in independent policies and non-alignment at world-level.

The perspective of the peace movement in such matters is very clear—not taking sides in big power rivalries but only wishing for peace and welfare of all people. Hence while firmly opposing US imperialism as a highly destructive force, in the middle-east and elsewhere, the peace movement always stands for the welfare of all ordinary people of the USA.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, A Day in 2071 and Earth without Borders.

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