Saudi and Iran Peace Deal: China’s Latest Strategy

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran had been at loggers head for decades. This was borne out of Ethnic, Economic, Religious and Ideological differences. Although both countries are Islamic, their religious inclination are poles apart. While the Saudi sees itself as the global headquarters for the Sunni sect of Islam, Iran is traditionally known as the global base for the Shiite sect.

Based on the foregoing, the two countries have always been found on the opposing sides of conflicts both in the Middle East and Abroad. Examples include the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars, conflicts in Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. In addition, a Saudi led regional disagreement with Qatar led to UAE aligning with Saudi and Iran supporting the Qatari.This style of polar alignment also found its way into West Africa, particularly in Nigeria, where the Saudi State is supporting the Nigerian government against the deadly onslaught of Iranian supported Islamic State for West Africa (ISWAP).

Arising from a Chinese brokered peace deal on 10th of March 2023, the two countries agreed to suspend all forms of hostilities and reestablish diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Tehran. The implication is that this would be a major peace deal in the Middle East in recent times without the influence of the Americans.On the other hand, the development has placed the Chinese in new light as a global peacemaker. This might also turn out to be the long term global strategy President Xi Jinping’s China want to pursue.