Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: COULD CORONAVIRUS CHANGE THE GEOPOLITICAL CLIMATE IN THE MIDDLE EAST WITH REGARDS TO RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
The pandemic has already brought about monumental changes both economically and geopolitically.
Firstly, it constituted a black swan event that served as a catalyst for Russia to refuse to continue its oil production cuts in coordination with Saudi and the rest of OPEC, which had repeatedly invited Russia to join the alliance. Now we have a better idea of why Russia turned down the offer. Saudi immediately followed suit by halting its own production cuts and pulling out all stops in oil production. The intended result is that US oil will be crushed, leaving less competition for OPEC and reducing the membership of the organization. In the long run, this should boost oil prices, but not until after a blood bath in the oil markets. It is not yet clear whether the actions of Russia and Saudi are secretly coordinated or separate and competitive.
The combined effect of this economic hit and the spread of the COVID19 infection in the US has made it much more difficult for the US to continue its misadventures in the Middle East. For example, following a rocket attack on a base housing US and Coalition military personnel during the last few days, the US is pulling out of the second biggest base it occupies in Iraq, and this may not be the last pull-out. For Trump it is beneficial for the embarrassing pull-out to be happening at a time when the public is distracted with news of the epidemic.
As my readers know, Israel has been fighting in tandem with the US for years by attacking “Iranian” targets primarily in Syria but also in Iraq (the term “Iranian target) is ingenuously used by Israel and the US because the groups impacted by the strikes generally include a considerable number of either Iraqis or Syrians). By acting as a de facto proxy of the US, Israel was providing cover in the joint effort to weaken Assad’s power with less overt involvement by the US, which could thus pretend to be pulling out of the Middle East while supporting both Turkey and Israel in their support of terrorist groups indirectly sponsored by the US. But the epidemic has weakened the US position, making it less affordable to continue the illegal occupation of Iraq and Syria. This makes it less feasible for the unofficial proxies like Turkey and Israel to continue their aggression in those two countries, since both of them also have their hands full with the fight against the viral infection. Now it must, however, be recognized that Iran is also very hard hit and has its hands full too. In addition, Erdoğan has received a serious dressing-down from Putin for his attacks on Syrian troops in the Idlib and Aleppo provinces, and is keeping a low profile. (To understand the utterly criminal role US ally Turkey has played in northern Syria, view this video). But so far there have been no reports of Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria having suffered from COVID19. Russia has also been spared to a large extent, with exceptionally few cases within its borders so far. (You can follow the progress of the Russian fight against COVID19 by reading Sputnik, TASS or RT).
Thus, Russia has meanwhile sent reinforcements of military equipment to the Syrian ally, which is making enormous gains in its fight against terrorists in Idlib.
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Al Masdar (Vince Dhimos's answer to Why is China hesitating to admit the fact that there will be an international tribunal to bring China's leaders to justice for covering up the Chinese virus? Experts like Theodore R. Wade Jr. agree with this fact.) and
The epidemic may not greatly affect US-Israel relations but it already has changed the game plan in the Middle East, weakening the efforts of Israel and the US in their plan to disrupt life in Iraq and Syria and to murder Iranians.
Meanwhile the Iran-backed Houthis have taken advantage of the confusion caused by the epidemic in the US – which supports the Saudis in their inhumane war on Yemeni civilians – and have launched successful strikes on Saudi oil facilities. These strikes were followed by the usual non-response of an increasingly irrelevant US.
As far as Israel is concerned in this context, the indirect consequences of the epidemic are the further weakening of the US, Israel’s indispensable partner in Middle East mischief. Once the US is sufficiently weakened by the oil crisis triggered as an indirect result of the epidemic, coupled with the epidemic itself in the US, it is unlikely that the US will have the wherewithal to maintain its presence in the Middle East, where it is already being pushed out by Iraq, Syria and Russia. Once that happens, Israel will likely be weakened by the loss of its partner and will be forced to become more receptive to Russian demands for peace. It could then be expected to reduce its aggression against Syria, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon – and perhaps against Palestine.
Recent US activities in the Middle East, such as the murder of General Soleimani and US pressure on the Gulf States, show that one of the most important influences of the US on the Middle East is its pressure not to dialogue with Iran. This showcases the US Establishment’s absolute phobia of possible rapprochement between warring states and clearly indicates that the US is the fly in the ointment when it comes to peace making in the region. Could it be that this undue pressure is no longer entirely welcomed by the Saudis and may be one of the reasons why Saudi started the oil price war that is bringing down US shale oil? Just an idle thought but a possibility.
Whatever the case may be, as a general rule, the more power Israel and the US lose, the more power Russia acquires and the more peaceful the Middle East will become.