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Iran and Saudi Arabia’s decision to normalize diplomatic relations has sparked a variety of reactions. After the announcement of the deal in Beijing last month—following five days of secret talks—the US sought to downplay the role of China and the promise of the agreement. US State Department spokesman Ned Price asserted that the accord “was not about” China but rather “about what Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia committed to." Beyond the focus on great power involvement in the region, the rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran has gotten attention given the associated Saudi engagement with Syria.
Mindful of these dynamics, it is critical to examine the direction of the foreign policy tendencies of the Gulf Arab states in the nexus of eastern and western power. Here, the future of the conflict in Syria is at the forefront of understanding how the triple consortium of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China can influence the foreign policy of Qatar—an important regional actor and US ally that has promoted...
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