Now that her allied neighbors, the UAE and Bahrain, have formally agreed to recognize Israel, MBS is under significant pressure to join the US-brokered initiative. All indications are that world oil demand, especially in the industrial countries of the EU and North America will decline as pressure for a green agenda politically grows. That has already created a serious global oil glut that Saudi is able to do little to change.
The recent 25-year Iran-China strategic partnership which apparently includes a significant military component, increases the pressure on MBS and the Saudis to devise a new geopolitical strategy beyond the series of proxy wars in Yemen and elsewhere that have been a significant failure for the Saudi side, with Iran-backed Houthi rebels able to regularly lob missiles at Riyadh and other Saudi targets. Several months ago the UAE intervened in Yemen to effectively partition the country along old Cold War lines, effectively ending the fruitless, destructive war against Saudi wishes, a clear humiliation of MBS.
Three years ago MBS declared an economic embargo against Qatar based on the latter’s close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, now banned in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Gulf monarchies. As MBS is being pressed to openly join UAE and Bahrain in recognition of Israel, something already well underway behind the scenes, Washington this week urged Saudi Arabia to heal its rift with Qatar in order to increase pressure on Iran. Were that to happen, with Saudi Arabia today in a far weaker economic position, a new strategy of dealing with Iran might emerge. What would be the future of China’s Belt, Road Initiative that once envisioned extending to Turkey and Israel is unclear amid strong US counter-pressures. At this point, as the entire Middle East is in flux, the once mighty Saudi monarchy is looking like a giant with feet of clay as it sees the twilight of its power over world oil.Twilight in the Desert for Saudi and MBS?