Saudi Arabia and the UAE signed up to the new US-backed India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor project during the G20 summit in India last weekend, just two weeks after being invited to join the BRICS grouping. Hailed as a historic, “green bridge” between India and Europe, the project looks unlikely to be realized any time soon, but its political symbolism shouldn’t be understated.

The 8-9 September G20 summit came just days after South Africa on 22-24 August hosted a high-profile summit of the BRICS countries, which culminated in invitations being issued to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia and Argentina. The move was seen by many as setting up the BRICS grouping as a move towards a more “multipolar” global order, partly in opposition to longstanding US and western-backed global institutions: many observers speculated that it was the latest indication that Saudi Arabia in particular was pivoting from the US to China. (CONTINUED - 1162 WORDS)