Victory hubris in Iran, US Silk Road and the New World

Victory hubris in Iran, US Silk Road and the New World

Victory euphoria and hubris in Iran. Now there is talk of a New World Order. Top headline of today’s Tehran Times: The SA-Iran deal as „Harbinger for a New World order“.

“The harbinger of new world order”

TEHRAN – After more than four decades, Iran’s tireless efforts to break Western monopoly have come to fruition as many rising powers are wriggling free from the postwar Western-dominated world order.

Following a report on an international conference of 36 countries for a New World Order in Tehran, which also mentions that Saudi Arabia will not take part, but Oman will, with whom Iran -as proudly pointed out -already held joint naval maneuvers after the new head of state in Oman inherited his former neutral father´s throne.

Iran to host international conference on new world order”

TEHRAN – Tehran will host an international conference on the emerging new world order on May 10-11, General Esmail Ahmadi Moqaddam announced on Monday.

Furthermore, a meeting between Russia, Iran and Syria, as now Syria again becomes a member of the Arab League.

“Iran FM to take part in Syria summit in Russia”

TEHRAN- Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian will attend the quadrilateral meeting on Syria which will be held in Russia on Wednesday, the spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

In parallel with China’s Global Times reporting that the US and Israel had managed to isolate Iran in recent years, the hourglass has now turned and the US and Israel are now isolated in the region. Furthermore, it is now also considered possible that Iran could now also become a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council GCC.

The US hasn’t completely withdrawn yet. Just the opposite. National Security adviser Sullivan is travelling to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Blinken will follow soon. On the one hand, the US still has its CENTCOM headquarters in Qatar, an oil-rich enclave in northern Syria occupied, from which it is fighting against IS with the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), created the I2U2 alliance with India, Israel, and the UAE and now they are competing with the Chinese New Silk Road BRI with their own railway project:

“Senior US official in Saudi Arabia to discuss massive rail project with UAE, India

Israel reportedly not invited as National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan arrives in kingdom shortly after Riyadh reaches agreement with Iran

By Lazar Berman 7 May 2023, 6:33 pm

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, December 12, 2022. (Susan Walsh/AP)

A senior White House official was in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss a massive infrastructure project with key Israeli allies, but without Israel at the table, according to reports.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan  is slated to met his Saudi, Emirati, and Indian counterparts, Axios reported on Saturday night. The four officials will discuss a rail and port network linking the Gulf states and India.

The idea reportedly arose during meetings of the I2U2 forum, which includes Israel, India, the US, and UAE, though Israel was not part of Sunday’s discussion.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is flying to India on Monday to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

File: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia takes his seat ahead of a working lunch at the G20 Summit, Nov. 15, 2022, in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Sullivan spoke by phone to Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, on April 11. He is expected to meet MBS on the current trip to discuss bilateral relations and the possibility of normalization with Israel.

Last Thursday at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a DC thinktank, Sullivan hinted at Sunday’s discussions, referencing “new areas of cooperation between New Delhi and the Gulf as well as the United States and the rest of the region.”

File: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia takes his seat ahead of a working lunch at the G20 Summit, Nov. 15, 2022, in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP, File)

The China challenge

Sullivan, the first senior US official to visit the kingdom since President Joe Biden made the trip last summer, arrived only weeks after Riyadh reached an agreement on restoring full diplomat ties with Iran under Chinese auspices.

The move toward China is widely seen as a signal from the Saudis to Washington that it is displeased with US pressure on human rights, and its perceived disengagement from the Middle East.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, welcomes US President Joe Biden to Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, July 15, 2022. (Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via AP, File)

The message seems to have been understood in the Biden administration. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will follow Sullivan with a June trip to Saudi Arabia to join a meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

China has been developing major infrastructure projects across the region as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. The I2U2 forum, and the potential rail project, are part of a US response.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, welcomes US President Joe Biden to Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, July 15, 2022. (Bandar Aljaloud/Saudi Royal Palace via AP, File)

The Chinese project also poses a major challenge to India, as its Chinese rival seeks to capture a far greater share of trade flows from Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe.

New Delhi, which sees China’s modern Silk Road scheme as a curb on its own growth and international trade, initially sought to avoid being hemmed in by creating its own corridor to Central Asia via Iran, and then on to Europe.

But the project — known as the International North-South Transit Corridor — has been a failure.

With the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020, India was presented with a new opportunity to challenge Chinese designs on regional and global trade.

Israel would seem a natural partner to a US-led initiative. Rail networks between Israel and the UAE would allow India to ship goods to the UAE, which would then be spirited by train across Saudi Arabia and Jordan, before crossing into Israel at Beit She’an and arriving at the Haifa port.

From there, goods would be shipped to Greece’s Piraeus port, one of the largest in Europe, from which India would be able to access the entire continent.

Economic ties between the UAE and India are already robust. India is the largest importer of Emirati goods, and the UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner. Emirati companies invested billions of dollars to create the India-UAE Food Corridor last year in order to bolster the Gulf country’s food security.

India aims to become the breadbasket of the Middle East, and Israel is at the center of that ambitious goal. The Foreign Ministry has created 29 Indo-Israel Centers of Excellence to improve yields, water use, and crop diversity.

With no formal ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem is sitting out Sunday’s talks with Sullivan.

While Saudi officials have privately expressed interest in such an agreement in recent years, the prospects of Israeli-Saudi normalization remain distant.

Chinese President Xi Jinping raises his glass and proposes a toast during the welcome banquet for visiting leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People, April 26, 2019. (Nicolas Asfouri/Pool Photo via AP)

Riyadh has presented extensive demands to the United States regarding major improvements to their bilateral relationship as a prerequisite for a deal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government, which has already garnered blistering condemnations from the Gulf kingdom over its policies toward the Palestinians, has made normalization less palatable to either the palace or the street.

Nonetheless, the current US government has made some progress, including on issues that eluded the administration of former US president Donald Trump, which brokered the Abraham Accords.

Last year, the White House brokered the final stages of a deal to transfer control over a pair of Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, leading to Riyadh opening its airspace for civilian flights to and from Israel. It later coaxed Oman to do the same, shrinking the time required for Israelis to fly to the Far East.

On Thursday at the Washington Institute, Sullivan said that the US sees a benefit to its national security in brokering a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The Global Times angrily comments that the USA is a third-world country when it comes to infrastructure construction, if you look at their own country, they would only copy China, especially since the planned project had been put on hold for 18 years, and was also not altruistically like China for the win- win-well-being of all, but only to encircle and contain China and this was just a reaction to the Chinese SA-Iran deal:

US railway plan a mere copycat, hard to win favor from Middle East

By Global Times Published: May 08, 2023 08:27 PMIllustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

According to media reports, national security advisors from the US, India, Saudi Arabia and the UAE met in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss a US proposal to link the Middle Eastern nations through a network of railway lines and connect the region to South Asia via sea lanes.

US media outlet Axios, which ran an exclusive report before the talks, said, „The project is one of the key initiatives the White House wants to push in the Middle East as China’s influence in the region grows. The Middle East is a key part of China’s Belt and Road vision.“

Xu Liang, an associate professor at the School of International Relations, Beijing International Studies University, told the Global Times that the US is trying to coordinate its Middle East policy with its South Asia policy, thereby creating a US-style railway plan in the Middle East that is different from China’s initiative. 

„This is the revival of the Cold War mentality in the Middle East. The plan is a deliberate containment of China’s Belt and Road Initiative,“ said Xu.

China has been engaging with the Middle East through the Belt and Road Initiative for years. Its peacemaker role in the recent Saudi-Iran detente has been lauded by the international community, countries in the region in particular, and injected momentum of stability to the region. All these trajectories have deeply worried the US.

The idea for the railway project germinated in the I2U2 forum 18 months ago, which includes Israel, India, the US and the UAE. Wen Jing, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Strategy, Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that I2U2 was relatively quiet since its formation, but after the US saw China’s successful mediation in the Saudi-Iran deal, I2U2 is now becoming active with the discussions of the railway plan. „I2U2, together with Quad and AUKUS, constitutes the US‘ global strategy to contain China,“ said Wen.  

Ding Long, a professor with the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, believes that the US is saving its declining influence in the region with something it is not good at, which will make the US‘ rail plan hard to achieve its desired goal.

According to a report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2021, the US spent just over half of what was required to support infrastructure, the backbone of the economy. Even former US president Donald Trump once compared the US‘ crumbling infrastructure to that of a third-world country. US President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law at the end of 2021, while a Politico article in mid-2022 said the inflation plaguing Biden’s presidency was also shrinking what’s so far been his crowning legislative achievement, referring to the infrastructure bill.

It is worth mentioning that the victims of the calamitous train derailment accident in East Palestine, Ohio, are still suffering. There were at least 1,164 train derailments across the US last year, according to data from the Federal Railroad Administration. Here is another startling data: The Bureau of Transportation Statistics found that 54,539 train derailments occurred in the US from 1990 to 2021, an average of 1,704 per year. If there is something that the US could export to the Middle East besides its „democracy“ and „freedom,“ it must be the freedom to derail.

The US, the most powerful country in the world, performs so poorly in terms of railway construction and infrastructure. As it’s now trying to woo Middle Eastern nations to establishment a network of railway lines, it is a mere copycat. While connectivity and win-win cooperation are in China’s mind when it is promoting infrastructure, what is in the mind of the US is countering its perceived rivals and sustaining its global hegemony.

„In terms of the technology and costs of building railways, no other country in the world than China has the prominent advantage. What the Middle Eastern countries want from the US is not a railway, but security. However, the US did not and could not bring security to the region, but messed up the security situation there. This is the dilemma the US is facing in the Middle East,“ said Ding.

Now the Middle East is witnessing a strong wave of rapprochement. The reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran under China’s mediation presents an alternative vision to the Middle Eastern geopolitical scene. Qatar and Bahrain reestablished diplomatic relations. Egypt and Turkey are also mending ties. Progress is made in Yemen’s peace talks. Just on Sunday, the Arab League has brought Syria back into its fold after 12 years. All these show that the US‘ Middle Eastern allies do not act in accordance with the US‘ playbook. 

„They care more about their interests, and aren’t following US lecturing. As their independence and autonomy is increasing, the Middle Eastern countries will not buy into US tactic of forming small cliques,“ said Ding.

Original texts:

Iran to host international conference on new world order

May 8, 2023 – 21:21

TEHRAN – Tehran will host an international conference on the emerging new world order on May 10-11, General Esmail Ahmadi Moqaddam announced on Monday. 

Moqaddam, the former police chief who is currently the head of Iran’s National Defense University, said Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf will deliver opening remarks at the conference. 

“In addition, General [Mohammad Hossein] Bagheri, Chief of General Staff of Armed Forces, and three other foreign speakers will be the keynote speakers of the ceremony. The closing ceremony speaker will be Admiral [Ali] Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council,” General Ahmadi Moqaddam added. 

“Guests from 36 countries will participate in this conference, and bilateral meetings between Iranian officials and foreign guests, as well as between foreign guests, will be held on the sidelines of this conference,” he added.

The former police chief went on to say that Saudi Arabia does not have an “official presence” and its scholars are not participating in the conference, but in the coming years, if such conferences are held “we will have a serious plan for the participation of our neighbors.”

General Bagheri, who recently visited Oman, described the conference as significant. The general pointed out that Tehran would host a significant conference on the new international order, which will be attended by a number of nations, including Oman.

In recent years, Iran and Oman have conducted a number of joint naval exercises.

The Iranian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman conducted a combined military exercise in the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman in December 2021. 

The military drill, which was the eighth of its type between the naval forces of Iran and Oman, was carried out in accordance with a decision made at meetings of the two nations’ joint military friendship commissions.

The harbinger of new world order

By Mehran Shamsuddin 

May 8, 2023 – 21:45

TEHRAN – After more than four decades, Iran’s tireless efforts to break Western monopoly have come to fruition as many rising powers are wriggling free from the postwar Western-dominated world order.

Talk of new world order is no longer wishful thinking or diplomatic hallucinations. Instead, it is a reality deeply rooted in strategically important trends that have been taking shape in recent years. 

The postwar world order that put the U.S. at the forefront of global politics has already begun to crack, with many non-Western powers inching toward redefining concepts and tools that have long been used by the West to achieve domination over other underdeveloped countries. 

The U.S. dollar is one such tool, to begin with. It has long been a powerful tool at the hand of American officials to disrupt many countries’ economies in order to subordinate them. The de-dollarization train has already taken off all over the world to deprive the U.S. of this tool. This trend is only one indication that the U.S. decline is up and running. The U.S. is on the decline in many other indicators. Its reliance on military threats and sanctions against countries such as Iran, Russia, and China that refuse U.S. hegemony is also indicative of U.S. degeneration.

Facing contumacious inclinations from Iran, China, and Russia, the U.S. found itself unable to maintain its domination through traditional ways such as dialogue. These countries, along with many others, are now strongly motivated to challenge the U.S.-dominated world order. Over the last few years, Tehran, Moscow, and Beijing have been patiently building strong relations, both bilaterally and multilaterally in the framework of institutions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS. These emerging institutions are growing at a time when many countries allied to the West seek to join the bandwagon of the emerging new world order spearheaded by non-Western powers.

The Arab allies of the U.S. in the West Asia region are a case in point. They have opened up to China, which enabled Beijing to play historic roles in a region where the U.S. was traditionally the majordomo. This was on full display in March when China brokered a landmark agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. 

And even in Europe, voices calling for reconsideration of transatlantic relations are no longer seen as dissonant. Today, many Europeans are openly calling for strategic independence from the U.S. Having borne the brunt of the Ukraine war, the Europeans are increasingly toying with the notion of parting ways with a predatory Washington.  

Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, was among the few who ushered in this change in the global order. In recent years, he asserted that global order is shifting in such a way that the West’s domination would come to an end. 

“The global order is on the verge of an important political upheaval. This upheaval has two main features: It is taking place very quickly, and it is weakening the front of the enemies of the Islamic Republic,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in early April, according to 

He noted, “The US is one of Iran’s most important foes in the world. Facts show that America was weaker under Obama’s administration than in Bush’s administration. The US was weaker under Trump’s administration than the way it was under Obama’s administration. The US is weaker under this man’s [Biden’s] administration than the way it was under Trump’s administration.”

Iran FM to take part in Syria summit in Russia

May 8, 2023 – 21:17

TEHRAN- Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian will attend the quadrilateral meeting on Syria which will be held in Russia on Wednesday, the spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Speaking at weekly press conference, Nasser Kanaani noted that considerable progress has been achieved during prior conversations on the Syria issues.

“During these quadrilateral discussions, Iran has consistently stated that while we appreciate Turkey’s security concerns in Syria, we feel that these issues have no military solution,” Kanaani said.

Kanaani also praised reconciliation between Syria and Arab nations, calling it “another victory” that Iran embraces.

“We appreciate that the Arab governments allowed Syria to participate in the Arab League meeting and we hope that the countries of the region will be able to forge new paths in the future,” he added. 

The Arab League readmitted Syria on Sunday after more than ten years of suspension, stating that Damascus can resume its attendance at organization meetings immediately. 

When a foreign-backed rebellion broke out in the Arab nation of Syria in 2011, the country’s membership in the Arab League was suspended. 

A number of Arab states broke off diplomatic ties with Syria and backed rebels working to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

“Iran to retaliate strongly against any assault”

In response to recent anti-Iran comments by U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan, Kanaani explained that such statements contradict 15 reports published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that affirmed the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear activities.

He said that the U.S. is to blame for both the Zionist regime’s assault against Iran’s nuclear facilities. 

“While our actions have always been peaceful,” he continued, “we do not tolerate unfounded charges.”

Speaking to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Thursday, Sullivan said the U.S. will take all necessary steps, including “recognizing Israel’s freedom of action,” to stop Iran from gaining what he claimed a nuclear weapon.

Iran, according to Kanaani, will not put up with any acts of hostility and will react forcefully in a way that will cause the perpetrator to regret course of conduct.

Also in a tweet on Friday, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said, “Jake Sullivan has said that if #Iran tries to produce nukes, US will recognize Israel’s freedom of action to counter. This admission means that US has been and will be responsible for all terrorist acts of Zionists against Iran’s facilities and people, accepting its consequences.” 

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that possesses nuclear arms. So far, it has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and opposed a Middle East without nuclear weapons.

“Iran, Azerbaijan have unbreakable relations”

He also verified the news when asked about expulsion of four Azerbaijani diplomats from Iran, saying that this was in retaliation for Azerbaijan’s “non-constructive action” to expel four Iranian diplomats.

In response to recent comments made by President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, he stated, “We have always expressed our views on ties with the Republic of Azerbaijan openly and transparently.”

He said, “The relationships between the two countries are unbreakable, and we should not take any actions that are not in the interests of the two countries but are in the interests of the parties who want to harm those relations.”

“Joint jubilation of triumph against terrorism”

On President Ebrahim Raisi’s trip to Syria, the spokesman stated that it was a joint celebration of victory over terrorism and that the president spoke with Syrian citizens, intellectuals, and resistance leaders, demonstrating Iran’s support for the axis of resistance in the region.

The Syrian and Iranian presidents signed significant documents, which can lay the foundation for improving the private sectors in both countries, according to Kanaani, who also described the trip as an effort to redirect relationship in the post-terrorism era as well as to pursue the expansion of trade and economic exchanges. 

He added that the Comprehensive Program of Strategic and Long-Term Cooperation between Iran and Syria can regulate economic ties.

“Iran firm to clear up IAEA misconceptions”

Kanaani also referred to reports that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had installed new cameras, underling that Tehran’s policy is to prevent turning the issues pertaining to Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy activities into a barrier and that Tehran steadfastly pursues the policy of resolving issues and misunderstandings with the IAEA.

“EXPO 2023 important for Foreign Ministry”

Kanaani also said that the Foreign Ministry places a lot of attention on the fifth exhibition of Iran’s export capabilities (IRAN EXPO 2023), which features 750 firms showcasing their accomplishments.

He expressed expectation that the exhibition would assist in locating a suitable market for the Iranian exports by showcasing Iran’s diverse capabilities in medical and industrial sectors.

“Partnerships are good initiatives”

Given the partnerships between Iran and other nations, such as Russia and China, Kanaani said that they are admirable measures that may assist identify good allies and guide previously set aims in the right direction.

The 25-year Iran-China cooperation program has been put into practice by Beijing and Tehran, but the 20-year deal between Iran and Russia has not yet been concluded, based on the remarks made by spokesperson.

Regarding Syria and African nations, he maintained that the Tehran-Damascus agreement is under consideration and that good efforts have been made for relations with Africa as well. 

He added that some trips to Africa have been planned at the level of high-ranking officials, including President Raisi.

“No restrictions for Iranian, Saudi businesspeople”

In answer to a query about the reopening of the diplomatic missions of Iran and Saudi Arabia, Kanaani also said the moves are in the last stages.

According to the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, there are no restrictions for merchants from both countries, he said.

Regarding Baghdad’s efforts to mediate between Cairo and Tehran, he noted that Iran has said there are no restrictions on the growth of regional ties.

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