By Andrew Korybko

The U.S' recalibration towards the Asia-Pacific might stabilize West Asia

September 27, 2021 - 17:17

TEHRAN- America is visibly in the process of geostrategically recalibrating its focus towards the Asia-Pacific as evidenced by several relevant developments that will impact West Asian affairs. First, U.S. President Joe Biden remained committed to his predecessor's decision to militarily withdraw from Afghanistan. He then announced that combat troops will depart from Iraq by the end of the year, which is being done in accordance with the will of that country's parliament. Finally, the American leader withdrew Patriot air defense systems from Saudi Arabia.

These actions are being undertaken due to the US' finite means to “contain” China, which necessitates certain military compromises in other theaters such as the so-called “Greater Middle East” that isn't as important to it as the Asia-Pacific is nowadays. Nevertheless, the optics of these moves are in Iran's soft power favor since its leadership previously promised that America's withdrawal from the region would be the country's real revenge for former U.S. President Donald Trump's assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.

To be clear, the U.S. isn't completely withdrawing from the “Greater Middle East” since the headquarters of its Central Command (CENTCOM) will still remain in the Qatari capital of Doha. What's happening is therefore a recalibration, though one which greatly affects West Asia. As it stands, these developments stand to improve the regional security situation for Iran. Its leadership won't have to worry about America directly threatening them from either Afghanistan or Iraq, and Saudi Arabia might provoke the Islamic Republic less too.

In fact, it's Saudi Arabia that should be the most concerned by these trends. Although it boasts an expensive military and is among the world's top arms purchasers, the Kingdom's forces have failed to defeat Yemen's Ansarullah despite six years of unrestricted warfare against them. Riyadh relies heavily on Washington's assistance in order to advance what its leadership subjectively regards as their national security interests, which is why the US' geostrategic recalibration to the Asia-Pacific is the cause of so much worry.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), who's widely considered to be the Kingdom's de facto ruler, will therefore be compelled to recalibrate his country's own policies in response otherwise he risks dramatically worsening its regional security situation if he continues his counterproductive course. Saber-rattling against Iran and refusing to seriously countenance a political solution to the War on Yemen which would necessitate certain compromises on his country's part are no longer viable policy options without American backing.

The rumored talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran suggest that MBS might finally be realizing his mistakes. It seems that what he needed was to be abandoned by his country's American ally in order to become more clearly aware of the need to enact his own long-overdue geostrategic recalibration. The young ruler mustn't remain blinded by ego and continue unintentionally harming his Kingdom's objective national security interests by stubbornly remaining committed to the failed policies that he's been responsible for since rising to power.

Provoking Iran does nothing to improve Saudi Arabia's security. On the contrary, it only worsens regional tensions and thus compels the Kingdom to invest more in arms instead of redirecting those funds towards MBS' ambitious Vision 2030 reforms for restructuring its energy-dependent economy. Refusing to politically resolve the War on Yemen has directly resulted in the Ansarullah symmetrically responding to Saudi strikes by launching their own ones against that country's military and oil facilities in recent years.

With these factors in mind, it's obvious that MBS should seriously explore a rapprochement with Iran in order to safeguard his country's objective interests in light of America abandoning his Kingdom. The U.S. might even be indirectly pushing him towards that end through these means as part of the more comprehensive regional deal that it's speculated to be interested in clinching with Iran, of which the ongoing nuclear negotiations are only a part. For these reasons, the US' recalibration towards the Asia-Pacific might therefore stabilize West Asia.

Andrew Korybko is a political author, journalist, and a regular contributor to several online journals, as well as a member of the expert council for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s Friendship University of Russia. He has published various works in the field of Hybrid Wars, including “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach to Regime Change” and “The Law of Hybrid War: Eastern Hemisphere”

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