Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Why Saudi snub of Biden on China-Iran deal may help US relations, 14 Mar cyclops translation
• MBS is "largely seen as spiteful"
• MBS oil production cuts "a kind of tactic to hurt Democrats' election chances and help the GOP"
• KSA dependence on US arms supplies, "strong military-to-military partnerships "
• "U.S. and Iran have no direct diplomatic contact" anyway: "'This is something that we think is positive insofar as it promotes what the United States has been promoting in the region, which is de[-]escalation, a reduction in tensions," national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday."
• "Ironically, were the Chinese now to succeed in helping to bring an end to that [Yemen] war and some kind of negotiated solution, that also helps US-Saudi relations"
• joint implementation unlikely, because 3 Pariahs®
OPEC (1960 FTA): IR, IQ, KW, NG, SA, VZ, LY, AE, DZ, AO, GQ, CG, GA; PLUS OM*, s-SS*, SS*, BN*, RU*, MX*, AZ*, KZ*, MY*, BH*, EC*, ID*, QA*
OIC (1969 NGO): AZ, AE, IR, IQ, BD, TR, TN, SN, SL, GA, GW, QA, KW, ML, MR, YE, JO, ID, PK, AF, UZ, BH, AL, UG, BN, BJ, TM, BF, TJ, TG, TD, DZ, SA, SS, SY, SR, SO, OM, GM, GY, GN, PS, KM, KG, KZ, CM, CI, LB, LY, MV, MY, EG, MA, MZ, NE, NG, CN*
INSTC (2000 TNC): AM, AZ, BY, BG, IN, IR, KZ, KG, OM, RU, TJ, TR, UA, SY—Trans-Iran leg
SCO (2001 NGO): CN, RU, IN, PK, KZ, KG, TJ, UZ, IR, AM*, AF*, AZ*, BY*, TR*, LK*, KH*, SA*,EG*
BRICS (2009 FTA): CN, RU, BR, IN, ZA; AR*, DZ*, EG*, ID*, IR*, CM*, ML*, SN*, TH*, UZ*, FJ*, ET*, KZ*
EaEU (2012 FTA): AM, BY, KZ, KG, TJ, RU, VN*, CN*, RS*
JCPOA (2015): CN, RU, IR, FR, DE, UK, EU, US
by Cat on Tue Mar 14th, 2023 at 08:20:39 PM EST
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APsplainin | China, Russia, Iran hold joint naval drills in Gulf of Oman, 15 Mar "Security Bond-2023"
Other countries are also taking part in the "Security Bond-2023" exercises [15-19 Mar], the ministry said without giving details. Iran, Pakistan, Oman[,] and the United Arab Emirates [UAE] all have coastline along the waterbody l[a]ying at the mouth of the strategic Persian Gulf.
U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday that the White House was not concerned by the joint training exercise. Kirby said the U.S. and other nations conduct training exercises all the time and this won't be the first time that the Russians and Chinese have trained together.

"We're going to watch it, we'll monitor it, obviously, to make sure that there's no threat resulting from this training exercise to our national security interests or those of our allies and partners in the region," Kirby said on CNN. "But nations train. We do it all the time. We'll watch it as best we can."
While the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have long-standing military and political ties [!], relations have frayed over the 2018 killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom's leadership, and cuts in production by the OPEC+ oil cartel [!] that the administration said was helping Russia.

saudigazette | Prince Abdulaziz warns from imposing price cap on Saudi oil exports (14.03.23)
"He said: 'if a price cap were to be imposed on Saudi oil exports, we will not sell oil to any country that imposes a price cap on our supply.'"
China's hosting of the Iran-Saudi talks placed it in the unusual role of mediator in regional conflicts, one that Beijing appears to be keen to capitalize on under the rubric [sic] of President Xi Jinping's "Global Security Initiative." [23.02.23]
reuters | Syrian president Assad arrives in Moscow [again], will meet Putin, 14 Mar
...A Kremlin statement said the two leaders would discuss cooperation in the political, trade and humanitarian spheres "as well as prospects for an overall settlement of the situation in and around Syria"....
by Cat on Wed Mar 15th, 2023 at 06:06:19 PM EST
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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on March 15, 2023
The Paper: Saudi Arabia and Iran held talks sponsored by China in Beijing and agreed to resume diplomatic relations. At the same time, Special Envoy Zhai Jun of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue have been shuttling between Palestine and Israel to facilitate a solution for issues between the two sides. What will China do regarding the settlement of the hotspot issues in the Middle East? 
Wang Wenbin: The Middle East has the most hotpost issues in the world. As a good friend of Middle East countries, China does not have selfish interests and does not seek to put up exclusive blocs in the region. China is dedicated to the political settlement of hotspot issues and has always been a reliable mediator with goodwill. In recent years, China has proposed a five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East [27.03.21], a four-point proposal for the political settlement of the Syrian issue [20.01.14], and a three-point vision for the implementation of the two-state solution to the Palestinian question [15.05.21]. Recently, China sponsored the Saudi Arabia-Iran talks in Beijing which produced major outcomes. Special Envoy Zhai Jun's shuttling and good offices have been highly appreciated and widely welcomed by countries and people in the region....
also setting aside fmprc annual invitation to OIC, China-Arab States, and China-GCC summits

Special Envoy Zhai Jun of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue Meets with EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Sven Koopmans, 13 Mar 2023 Brussels

...Both sides agreed that China and the EU share similar positions on the Palestinian question, and are ready to continue to strengthen communication and cooperation, jointly remain committed to advancing the end of violence and conflicts between Palestine and Israel, and restart dialogue and negotiations on the basis of the two-state solution and relevant resolutions of the United Nations as soon as possible, to promote peace and stability in the Middle East.
indicia: relevant special envoy "shuttling" 2021-2023
by Cat on Wed Mar 15th, 2023 at 11:02:27 PM EST
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thecradle | The hidden security clauses of the Iran-Saudi deal - Sources™, 12 Mar
At first glance, the first four clauses suggest that the Chinese-brokered deal is essentially a mending of diplomatic relations between the two longtime adversaries. But in fact, the fifth clause is far from the standard text inserted into joint statements between states.
boilerplate violation
Sources familiar with the negotiations have revealed to The Cradle that Chinese President Xi Jinping did not merely coat-tail a deal already underway between Tehran and Riyadh. Xi has, in fact, personally paved the way for this agreement to materialize. The Chinese head of state delved deep into its details since his visit to Saudi Arabia in December 2022, and then later, during Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's visit to Beijing in mid-February 2023.
In short, regional and domestic security and stability are vital for Riyadh to be able to implement its strategic goals. As such, confidential clauses were inserted into the Beijing Agreement to assure Iran and Saudi Arabia that their security imperatives would be met. Some of these details were provided to The Cradle, courtesy of a source involved in the negotiations
On a slightly separate note related to regional security -- but not part of the Beijing Agreement -- sources involved in negotiations confirmed to The Cradle that, during talks, the Saudi delegation stressed Riyadh's commitment to the 2002 Arab peace initiative; refusing normalization with Tel Aviv before the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital.
What is perhaps most remarkable, and illustrates the determination by the parties to strike a deal without the influence of spoilers, is that Iranian and Saudi intelligence delegations met in the Chinese capital for five days without Israeli intel being aware of the fact. It is perhaps yet another testament that China -- unlike the US -- understands how to get a deal done in these shifting times.
by Cat on Wed Mar 15th, 2023 at 10:30:25 PM EST
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Always had much resect for his blog with some excellent analysts like Aaron Lund ... but repeating BS written by WaPo creates some doubts about his insight in power brokers and machinations. Don't peddle lies from the intelligence community or the Pentagon.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Mar 17th, 2023 at 09:31:08 AM EST
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by Cat on Fri Mar 17th, 2023 at 12:12:48 PM EST
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