Mideast Nations Distancing From US Influence, Diminution Concerns Washington

The White House is seen on a rainy night in Washington, Wednesday, June 30, 2021. President Joe Biden will hold a naturalization ceremony Friday at the White House in which 21 immigrants will become citizens.InternationalIndiaAfricaWASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US partners in the Middle East are beginning to distance themselves from American influence amid efforts to stabilize the region, which may be a concern to Washington, former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman told Sputnik. Saudi Arabia recently took diplomatic action to thaw relations with Iran, Syria, and Hamas, while Bahrain and Qatar agreed to resume diplomatic ties. In mid-April, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad traveled to Saudi Arabia, marking his first visit to the country since 2011, to discuss efforts to reach a possible political solution to the crisis. At the UN on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the world must boost efforts to reach political settlements and stabilize conflict zones in the Middle East now more than ever as the region undergoes deep transformation. Lavrov also said a multilateral approach is required to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, instead of what he called the “destructive” one-sided actions of the US and EU that have harmed the Mideast peace process. “The countries of West Asia are coming to see themselves as members of what [Russian political scientist] Sergei Karaganov has called ‘the world majority’ and distancing themselves from the United States,” Freeman said. “All this represents a diminution of American influence that is naturally of concern to Washington.” The Eastern part of the Arab world, Freeman added, has long been subjected by external powers, but it is now in the midst of a self-driven rearrangement of regional relationships. “Its major actors have seized control of their own destiny for the first time since Napoleon’s 1798 invasion of Egypt and are seeking their own answers to their region’s problems,” Freeman said. 20 Years Since US Invasion of IraqUS Invasion of Iraq Helped Bolster Chinese, Iranian Influence in Middle East, Experts Say21 March, 06:18 GMTAccording to Freeman, the Middle East is now led by assertively independent leaders with their own determination about how their national interests will be best served, and they do not respond well to outside efforts to dictate policy in the region. “These leaders have learned the hard way that the use of force and covert action not only solves few problems but is often costly and counterproductive,” Freeman said. “The result is a search for peace and stability between the countries of the region without regard to the views of the United States and the former colonial powers.” Mideast nations, Freeman said, are expanding their outreach to rising and resurgent powers like China, India, Brazil, and Russia and by identification with post-Cold War institutions like the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, entailing the adoption of a nonaligned stance on matters between external great powers like the contention between the United States, Russia, and China. Freeman is an American retired diplomat and writer who served in the US Foreign Service, and in the departments of State and Defense, in many different capacities over 30 years.

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