【环球时报记者 黄培昭 任重】“欢迎来到令人困惑的新中东”。1月17日,伊朗外交部发言人哈提卜扎德在例行新闻发布会上表示,伊朗准备重新开放其驻沙特的大使馆,这一决定取决于沙特方面采取的具体措施。在伊朗与逊尼派穆斯林关系缓和的同时,阿拉伯国家和以色列的关系也在大踏步前进。去年12月12日,以色列总理贝内特访问阿联酋,这是以色列总理第一次踏上海湾国家的土地。美国《新闻周刊》称,中东目前正在发生让人摸不着头脑的“怪事”:外交正在整个地区“开花”。那些通常相互挖墙脚的领导人,正在探讨是否可以作出有利于各自国家的更具建设性的安排。

  随着美国将其战略重心转移至印太地区,中东国家也开始集体“向东看”。1月中旬,在海湾阿拉伯国家合作委员会(海合会)4个成员国沙特、科威特、阿曼、巴林的外交大臣及海合会秘书长纳伊夫访华之际,土耳其和伊朗外长也同时访华。中东媒体分析认为,中国同时迎来中东6国外长或外交大臣访问,在历史上十分罕见,凸显出中国对中东外交的高度重视,以及中东国家对中国日益增强的信任度。

对话、重启、关系正常化“全面上演”

  “在整个中东地区,对话、重启、关系正常化正在全面上演。”据卡塔尔半岛电视台报道,自2016年沙特切断与伊朗的外交关系以来,此次伊朗准备重开大使馆是双方关系6年来首次转暖。但这一举动其实已经铺垫许久。从2021年4月起,沙特与伊朗在伊拉克的斡旋下恢复接触,至今已举行过多轮对话,涉及外交、情报、军事等多个领域。沙特与伊朗两国外长还共同出席了2021年8月由伊拉克主办的“巴格达合作与伙伴关系会议”,就缓解中东局势进行充分沟通。

  与此同时,阿联酋国家安全顾问阿勒纳希安2021年12月6日罕见访问伊朗,并与伊朗总统莱希会面。这是两国2016年降低外交关系级别以来,阿联酋高级官员首次到访伊朗。阿勒纳希安称,此次访问有望成为两国关系的“转折点”。

  2021年12月14日,第42届海合会首脑会议在沙特首都利雅得举行。沙特方面表示,希望找到解决伊朗核问题的有效方式,并与伊朗实现关系正常化。有分析认为,得到了沙特的首肯、再加上阿联酋的认证,预计海合会相关国家与伊朗的关系全面解冻已经不再遥远。

  阿拉伯国家与以色列的关系也在快速回暖。埃及《金字塔报》称,作为地区军事强国的以色列,正在大做阿拉伯国家的文章,积极谋求与阿拉伯国家和平相处。2021年9月,以色列总理近10年来首次访问埃及。2021年12月12日,以色列总理历史性首访阿联酋。目前,沙特、阿曼、卡塔尔、突尼斯、毛里塔尼亚、吉布提等阿拉伯国家也正同以色列展开不同渠道的接触,并等待时机谋求与以色列建交。有观点认为,未来阿拉伯国家与以色列关系大面积突破将会是大势所趋。

  在阿拉伯国家内部,“大和解”的趋势也正在上演。2021年8月11日,卡塔尔埃米尔(国家元首)塔米姆签署埃米尔令,任命班达尔为卡塔尔驻沙特大使。这是自2017年海湾断交危机以来,卡塔尔首次向沙特派驻大使,标志着两国关系开始步入正常化,海湾国家关系加速回暖。

  卡塔尔半岛电视台报道称,班达尔曾在卡塔尔外交部和埃米尔办公室供职,出任过卡塔尔驻约旦、科威特、阿曼等国大使,参与过有关地区冲突的斡旋工作,外交经验丰富。中东媒体分析认为,卡塔尔派如此背景的重要人物出任驻沙特大使,凸显卡塔尔对沙特关系的重视程度,也希望借此带动与更多海湾国家关系走向正轨。

  2021年初,海合会欧拉峰会邀请卡塔尔埃米尔参会,其间沙特、埃及、阿联酋、巴林宣布同卡塔尔恢复全面外交关系,海合会“断交危机”初步化解。

  Even Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is starting to be pulled back into the Middle East.

"Newsweek" said that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Oman and Iraq have recently strengthened their engagement with Syria.

In October 2021, Assad received the first call from Jordan's King Abdullah II since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, joining Abdullah II as the first to call for Assad to step down. A far cry from the days of Arab leaders.

Just days before the call, Jordan announced the reopening of the Jaber-Nassib border crossing with Syria, aimed at facilitating trade exchanges.

 May be an important period of development opportunities

  In addition to Arab countries, Iran, and Israel, there is another important country in the Middle East, and that is Turkey.

Turkey, which has always been tabooed and guarded by Arab countries, will also undergo important changes in its foreign policy in 2021, extending an "olive branch" to Arab countries and improving relations with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries.

At the same time, Turkey's relations with Iran and Israel have also eased.

  According to Newsweek, on November 24, 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, went to Turkey to sign a series of economic and financial agreements with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

That signing ceremony was notable because the two countries have been at odds on a variety of issues since the "Arab Spring" protests erupted.

Before the latest meeting, the UAE crown prince of Abu Dhabi had not set foot in Turkey in nearly a decade, arguing that Erdogan's support for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood posed an existential threat to the pervasive family regime in the Gulf.

  On December 7, 2021, Erdogan visited Qatar and held talks with the Emir of Qatar.

The two sides signed 15 agreements pledging to promote economic ties and financial cooperation.

File photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

  Al Jazeera said a subtle and ambiguous shift is taking place in the Middle East, with countries exploring the possibility of new regional partnerships as they face the fact that the world-dominant superpower appears to have lost its way after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Lose the aura.

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is a turning point for the Middle East devastated by 20 years of war, and the situation in the region has been reshuffled, although traditional U.S. partners are still involved.

  The report said that the tendency of Middle Eastern countries to solve problems by seeking to establish economic ties with each other rather than relying on military force may lead some countries to see China as a new security partner to replace what they see as "unreliable". The United States,” such as Iran’s talks with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and the UAE’s attempts to reconcile with Turkey and Qatar.

While U.S. diplomats say they encourage this "dispute resolution" model, the momentum behind these efforts is beyond Washington's control.

It can be said that with the gradual reduction of the haze of proxy wars, the Middle East has ushered in a very important period of development opportunities.

  "The clock of China's diplomacy points to the Middle East", the UAE's "Event" TV said that the Gulf countries are firm supporters and important participants of China's "Belt and Road" cooperation initiative. , have common interests and value orientations, especially the Gulf countries, regardless of the pressure of the United States, insist on "looking east" and develop strategic relations with China, which shows the political vision of these countries.

  Wang Jin, an associate professor at Northwestern University's Middle East Institute, told the South China Morning Post that the Gulf Arab countries' development plans can be boiled down to "changing energy reliance and increasing economic diversification".

This requires international support on the one hand, and industrial and technical support on the other.

Turkey and Iran are facing similar economic pressures.

  Tuvia Green, a researcher at Israel's Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, said that these Middle Eastern countries are willing to institutionalize cooperation with China, indicating that China's cooperation with the Middle East will be long-term.

He also said that China is a means for the Middle East to attract the attention of the United States. "Middle Eastern countries are tired of great power competition, and they want this competition to have a positive impact."

US signals 'not interested'

  The diplomatic interactions of Middle Eastern countries are dizzying, but they are linked by a common theme: After two decades of intensive U.S. intervention in the region's internal affairs, the Middle East is no longer the first place in U.S. global strategy. one's.

The US "Newsweek" commented that it is no coincidence that Saudi Arabia and the UAE used to be accustomed to the unconditional support of the United States, and now they are the main driving force behind many current regional diplomatic activities.

  As the Biden administration pledges more resources and attention to the Indo-Pacific, U.S. partners in the Middle East have also been spurred to make their own arrangements.

Frankly, America's military withdrawal from the Middle East is exactly what the region wants.

The Middle East is less strategically important to U.S. national security and economic prosperity than it was during the Cold War.

U.S. policymakers are beginning to see the results of reducing military presence in the Middle East, and Middle Eastern governments are increasingly interested in peacefully resolving disputes.

  The UAE's "National News" said that perhaps the most important practitioner of the new political pattern in the Middle East is the UAE.

Recognizing that there are no military solutions to the many conflicts sparked by regional rivals such as Turkey, Israel and Iran, the UAE has embarked on a series of diplomatic action.

Not only has the UAE engaged in a remarkable breakthrough diplomacy with the three non-Arab countries in the region - Israel, Turkey and Iran - but also engaged in constructive dialogue with Syria.

These moves come against a backdrop of unpredictable and potentially unreliable U.S. foreign policy, in part the past 20 years in which U.S. presidential power has continued to fluctuate across parties (from Bush, Obama, Trump to Biden) alternate product.

  This unpredictability has been exacerbated by disruptive partisan politics, "partisanism" that has become a feature of today's U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

The United States has kept its allies in constant trouble as Washington has made many mistakes in the Middle East, including the collapse of Iraq and Libya, the arrogance of hardliners in Iran and Israel, and the spread of extremism.

As a result, these allies are left to fend for themselves, trying to clean up or deal with the mess that the U.S. helped create.

  In an interview with the Global Times reporter, Jabala, a member of the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Commission and a well-known columnist in the Al-Ayramid newspaper, said that the withdrawal of the US troops was a manifestation of the complete failure of its Afghanistan strategy. After the mission and no use value, the United States wanted to put it in a bottle, but it couldn't.

  In Jabala's view, this is the most worthy of reflection by the United States, and it is also a wake-up call for Middle Eastern countries.

He said that interfering in other countries' internal affairs, interfering in regional affairs, and intervening in international disputes is an inferior and habitual practice of the United States. Now many countries in the Middle East have clearly seen this point. This is also why countries have adjusted their policies, eased tension, and turned More important reasons to embrace other great powers.

  However, the American "Philadelphia Inquirer" reminded that Sunni Arab countries are betting on both sides, and "the hope of peace in the Middle East may be exaggerated."

Iran's continued march toward the threshold of its ability to build a nuclear bomb could spark new regional conflicts, while the unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict could still erupt.

The website of the Center for American Progress stated that the era of direct military intervention by the United States in the Middle East is over, but the new order is not yet clear, and the region itself is facing enormous economic and social pressures exacerbated by the new crown epidemic.

  The "Washington Post" said that the Gulf countries have decided to independently seek ways to avoid conflict.

With the US signaling that it is not interested in the Middle East, the willingness of Arab countries to take "pre-emptive" action has grown rapidly.

Riyad Khawaji, founder of the United Arab Emirates Institute for Military Analysis of the Near East and the Gulf, said, "Every Arab country is trying to adopt policies that will ensure its own interests, and they are no longer tying their ships to the American ropes. "

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