BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Syria this week marks the first visit by Iranian leader since the beginning of Syria’s war in 2011. Elsewhere, thousands of people are fleeing a burgeoning civil war in Sudan. Israel is now negotiating direct flights to Saudi Arabia for Haj. Tehran and Riyadh – whose rivalry has long been among the core drivers of Middle Eastern discord – has seen a surprise détente brokered by Beijing, and a plan to reopen embassies in each other’s capitals within days. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is planning to host Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in an upcoming Arab League Summit at the end of May, while China may soon be able to credit itself with another diplomatic win, this time in Yemen, where a 9-year-war appears to be coming to an end, following a flurry of Chinese negotiations.
China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. Geng Shuang implored other countries last month to “follow the general trend,” which prompted security experts and policymakers to ponder what roles Beijing and Washington will have in a region in the throes of so much realignment. This week, a U.S. special envoy also traveled there in a bid to advance Yemeni peace efforts, according to the State Department.
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