The Gaza crisis is considered a global incident more than a regional one, as it is expected to affect the global balance of power. This crisis is likely to lead to the West losing its supposed geopolitical and moral superiority, not only at the regional level but at the global level, while Russia, China and developing countries are expected to benefit from the current crisis. It will be a painful lesson for the West.
The recent Israeli aggression on Gaza is an important historical turning point, along with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is expected to accelerate the transition of the international order from unipolarity after World War II towards multipolarity. The US has been forced to reposition itself in the Middle East and rearrange its priorities accordingly, as it cannot currently focus on the greatest threat to its hegemony: China.
The US has received a major blow through the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which prompted it to shift its focus towards Europe. Then came the Hamas attack on October 7, which constituted a new jolt to it in the Middle East.
After Donald Trump assumed the presidency in the US, Washington’s attention turned to the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to contain China. However, the Hamas attack turned the attention of the American elite towards the Middle East in general and the Palestinian issue in particular.
Russia and China have sought to undermine the international order that the US has long supported. Russia appears to be the biggest beneficiary of expanding unrest, while Washington focuses on the Middle East.
Although the US still has the upper hand in military and economic terms in its competition with Russia and China, Beijing is getting closer and closer to the US every passing day. Its influence is increasing through giant investments, particularly in the Middle East and Africa regions. It is also increasing its military capabilities. China is also amplifying its influence on the diplomatic front. This was evident in the Beijing-sponsored agreement in April 2023 between Saudi Arabia and Iran, bypassing the US, in what appears to be an attempt by Saudi Arabia to move away from the American frame.
On October 6, Israel and Saudi Arabia were on their way to normalizing their relations, as part of an ambitious American strategy. This could have led to the formation of a pro-American Arab-Israeli alliance, as a partnership aimed at containing or “deterring” Iran and its regional partners.
Such an American diplomatic victory would have dealt a strong blow to Tehran’s interests, particularly since the Saudi-Israeli rapprochement was to be accompanied by a security agreement between Washington and Riyadh. But the Gaza war destroyed American efforts to mediate a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
In view of the current Western position on Gaza, countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are likely to intensify their efforts to move away from the American orbit and increase their focus on the region and become cautious in making their foreign policy. In doing so, Beijing and Moscow gain a foothold in the region in a time when the US is losing ground to its competitor. Moscow is increasing its influence in the security and military areas and Beijing is making giant economic deals with countries in the region.
[Al Sharq Strategic Research]
Compiled and translated by Faizul Haque