Boykin: Peace Deal Brokered by China Will Spark Iranian Aggression
The recent uptick in attacks on American military outposts in Syria, the most recent of which killed an American citizen, was likely sparked by the renewal of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in an agreement brokered by China, said Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William Boykin.
“This is a bad situation,” Boykin warned on “Washington Watch,” noting the pact between the two countries, which was facilitated by China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, emboldened the Iranians. Boykin, a 36-year U.S. Army veteran, serves as executive vice president of Family Research Council.
Iranian-backed militias in Syria launched a drone attack on the coalition base near Hasakah in northeastern Syria last Thursday. In the attack, a U.S. contractor was killed and five U.S. servicemembers were injured. The coalition base houses personnel working to defeat elements of the Islamic State remaining in Iraq and Syria. There are more than 900 U.S. troops stationed in Syria, along with hundreds more contractors.
The U.S. continues to support Syrian opposition against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad given the president’s regime of atrocities and his refusal to reform policies which target those who oppose him. Iran supports the al-Assad regime.
In response to the drone attack, U.S. F-15E fighters launched an attack, which U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin termed “precision airstrikes,” against groups affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in eastern Syria. Later Friday, these Iranian-backed units launched 10 rockets targeting coalition forces. There were no injuries or damage reported to U.S. facilities from these rocket attacks.
The U.S. coalition base in northeast Syria is focused on “ensuring that the defeat of ISIS is enduring,” reported Major General Matthew?McFarlane, the commanding general of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, in an online briefing February 28. “... As we continue to work with our partners, we build the necessary military infrastructure and capabilities to ensure ISIS cannot resurge in either Iraq or Syria,” continued McFarlane. “It is a long-term effort as our partners build the independent capabilities and capacity to lead and maintain the fight against ISIS.”
Boykin told “Washington Watch” guest host Jody Hice that Iran, which has been internationally shunned for the past several years, is a clear beneficiary of the pact. “In many ways,” Boykin said, “this renewal of relations restored Iranian leaders’ confidence.”
In the deal, hammered out in meetings in Beijing, Iran promised to cease attacks on Saudi Arabia. Both countries, which Boykin noted have disparate theological views, will soon reopen their embassies in each other’s country. The pact clearly demonstrates China’s growing influence in the region, particularly given that the communist nation stands to benefit given Iran and Saudi Arabia are both oil-producing nations.
Boykin said while the agreement is an “incredibly historic event,” it has the potential to undo efforts finalized during the Trump administration to stabilize the region.
“What Xi has done is brought together two mortal enemies in the Persian Gulf with a pledge by each party to exchange embassies and to cooperate on a myriad of issues in the future,” Boykin explained. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this deal, he said, is that “it sets President Xi up to be recognized as a very strong and influential world leader.”
This is the Chinese communist’s objective, Boykin added, noting the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia will put a strain on those nearby, such as the neighboring United Arab Emirates, who were a part of the Abraham Accords.
With the signing of the historic Abraham Accords in September 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain agreed to recognize the State of Israel and normalize diplomatic relations with the Jewish nation. The Accords read in part, “We encourage efforts to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue to advance a culture of peace among the three Abrahamic religions and all humanity.”
Yet even more problematic, Boykin said, is the fact that Iran is moving faster than expected in its effort to establish its nuclear weapons program. He noted that General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Thursday, “Iran could produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon in less than two weeks, and it would only take several more months [for Iran] to produce an actual nuclear weapon.”
“Iran has the missile capabilities to hit any place in the Middle East,” Boykin said, stressing the primary Iranian target would be Israel. He warned Iran has long sought to be the dominant power in that part of the world and that Xi’s crafting of this pact between Iran and the Saudis sets the stage for the Iranians to be even bolder in their foreign policy.
Boykin said America must understand that the pact will likely mean the Saudi Arabian government will turn its back on agreements they had with Israel.
“It has been no secret, at least it’s been an open secret, that the Saudis have offered the Israelis airfields from which they can refuel and rearm if they do a preemptive strike on any of the nuclear sites inside of Iran,” Boykin explained. He predicted that because of this agreement, the Saudis will no longer cooperate with Israel or allow the Israelis to fly their airspace or use any of their facilities.
China has been busy working the diplomatic channels clearly intent on gaining influence over nations in the region.
Out of a March 21-22 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Communist leader Xi Jinping came reports that the two nations were dedicated to “strategic cooperation.”
In a move designed to strengthen China’s economy, Xi touted the expanding economic ties between the two nations. Russia is now China’s top supplier of oil and nearly a third of Russian exports end up in China. With most Western countries signing on to sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, many believe Putin is anxious, if not desperate, to find economic partners.
Press reports indicate as Xi left, he told Putin: “Now there are changes that haven’t happened in 100 years. When we are together, we drive these changes.”
Following the meeting, the Kremlin’s website quoted Putin as saying of the two nations: “We are working in solidarity on the formation of a more just and democratic multipolar world order…”
K.D. Hastings and his family live in the beautiful hills of Middle Tennessee. He has been engaged in the evangelical world as a communicator since 1994.