In an effort to counter NATO expansion, Russia and China are scrambling to incorporate two Middle Eastern rivals into their security and economic blocs, Newsweek reported on Tuesday.
The main targets are Iran and Saudi Arabia, historic enemies that, if aligned, could cause severe problems for global western interests.
One of the organizations eying the area is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an economic and military alliance consisting of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan.
The other is BRICS, a group of emerging economic powers that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
"The BRICS and the SCO share one important ideological quality: they are both focused on multipolarity, and their summits have even been held back-to-back with one another at times," Canadian foreign policy expert Matthew Neapole informed the outlet.
"Both are angling to act as force multipliers for this drive for multipolarity, to help along with alternatives," he continued. "It could, in theory, facilitate economic linkages and step into gaps that U.S. institutions are not filling due to sanctions, such as those laid on Russia."
The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced Monday that the country plans to join the SCO and BRICS, with Saudi Arabia also reportedly interested in joining the latter organization.
Saudi Elite Group President Mohammed al-Hamed told Newsweek that China's invitation for the kingdom to join BRICS confirms that it has "a major role in building the new world" and becoming an "essential player in global trade and economics."
Meanwhile, Tehran-based researcher Zakiyeh Yazdanshenas emphasized that Iran has massive untapped potential as a trading partner to China, given its vast oil reserves.
"Iran is the only producer of energy resources in the Persian Gulf that is not an ally of the United States and will not refuse to supply energy to China in the event of an escalation of the trade war between Beijing and Washington," Yazdanshenas said.
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