NEW DELHI: The Iran-Saudi Arabia agreement of last weekend to normalise relations has the potential to trigger a huge transformation in the region, cutting across political, ideological and sectarian differences, argues Talmiz Ahmad, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a well known West Asia scholar. In this conversation on The Gist, Ambassador Ahmad says the agreement is expected to lead, in time, to a resolution of the civil war in Yemen, where the Saudis are opposing the Shia Houthis. Iran has no strategic stakes there and can be expected to tone down its role there. The agreement holds out the hope of bringing the Syrian war to a close, and in Lebanon where Hezbollah is often accused of being in league with Tehran. There will be pressure on Israel to do justice to the Palestinians and until that happens, the Saudis cannot be expected to normalise ties with Tel Aviv. The deal, hosted by China, marks the emergence of Beijing as a major player in the Arab world. Ideally this is something India should have attempted given the thousand of years of history and culture it shares with the region. Tune in for more in this chat with Talmiz Ahmad, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
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