While US President Joe Biden was preparing to take off from Tel Aviv to Jeddah in the middle of last month, the president of the BRICS International Forum, Purnima Anand, stated the possibility of Middle Eastern countries joining the alliance that includes China and Russia.
In an interview with Russian media, Anand revealed that there are countries interested in joining the BRICS group, describing it as a “good step”.
Anand’s comments came shortly after Russia announced that Iran and Argentina had begun the preparatory process for joining the same group.
A few days ago, the Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, hinted at the possibility of Algeria joining the BRICS countries, saying during a meeting with the national press that the BRICS group is of interest to Algeria, given that it is an “economic and political power”, considering that joining this group will keep Algeria away from the “attraction of the two poles”, According to the newspaper,Sunrise“Local.
Analysts who spoke to Al-Hurra channel believe that the countries that wish to join the BRICS alliance are looking to obtain privileges through membership of this organization, which was first established with economic goals.
While the Algerian president spoke of joining the alliance as a move away from attraction, analysts did not overlook the fact that BRICS membership of Middle Eastern countries might have political implications and anger major Western countries, especially the United States.
Last July, a magazine linked “NEWSWEEKThe US is between attempts to expand the BRICS membership, and new countries to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The American magazine stated that the Chinese attempts to include Iran and Saudi Arabia in the BRICS group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in order to achieve a kind of global “geopolitical balance” by attracting “two influential opponents in the Middle East”, namely Saudi Arabia and Iran.
What is the BRICS group?
BRICS is an organization of five emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
BRICS was established in 2006 by the first four countries and was called “BRIC” after the initials of those countries when the foreign ministers of the first four countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) met in New York in September 2006 on the sidelines of the general debate of the United Nations Assembly.
But the first summit of the organization was in 2009 in Russia. A year later, its name was changed to BRICS after South Africa joined the four countries.
Member states hold annual summits in turn, as China hosted the last meeting of the organization last June, while South Africa will host the summit next year.
BRICS works to encourage trade, political and cultural cooperation between the countries that fall under this alliance, as the organization’s first meeting in 2009 adopted the establishment of a bipolar world order.
The first spark for the launch of the organization came in 2001 through the economist at “Goldman Sachs”, Jim O’Neill, who believed that a group of fast-growing emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China), could increasingly challenge the economic dominance of the advanced economies of the Group of Seven, according to “Forbes“.
Compared to the G7, the BRICS countries account for 40 percent of the world’s population and just over a quarter of global GDP.
China accounts for more than 70 percent of the group’s economy, while India has about 13 percent, Russia and Brazil each with about 7 percent, and South Africa 3 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Trade between the BRICS countries has not been of particular importance since its founding. But with the global energy system split into two blocs – those that support Western sanctions against Russia and others that do not – intra-alliance trade suddenly gained an unprecedented strategic role in the geopolitics of oil.
Last year, Iran joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an alliance of Russia, China and six other Central Asian countries, and is now rushing to seek membership in the BRICS.
Iranian political analyst, Hussein Roeran, sees BRICS as a “promising group” that is making gains for Iran, especially at the economic level in light of the US sanctions imposed on Tehran.
He told Al-Hurra website that “America uses economic sanctions as a weapon, and BRICS is the only group that breaks economic sanctions, considering that it controls a third of global trade,” he said.
He added that “BRICS is an international, economic, political, non-military alliance (which comes) to break the Western hegemony and unilateralism and create a multipolar world.”
Last month, a newspaper wrote,Global TimesThe Chinese state-owned said that the trend of a number of countries to join the BRICS group could tell us of “the growing fascination with the power and values of BRICS, as well as the loss of attractiveness in the current Western-dominated global governance.”
The Chinese newspaper said that “the BRICS countries have the will and ability to various degrees to fix the deficit in global governance,” and that more countries’ ways of this alliance “is a sign that the world needs more fair governance than the one dominated by the West.”
In the same context, Matthew Naipaul, an international affairs expert at the McDonald-Laurier Institute in Canada, told Newsweek that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS countries, “are two organizations with an important ideological character: both focus on multipolarity.”
He added that they “are working to double the force towards multipolarity, to help find economic alternatives,” noting that in theory it seeks to “facilitate economic ties” and fill the loopholes created by US sanctions, such as those imposed on Russia.
Naipaul noted that there are “big hurdles to overcome,” but that the reconfiguration of the Shanghai Organization and the BRICS alliance may play a major role in reshaping the world order.
During the 14th BRICS leaders’ meeting in Beijing in late June, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized accelerating the organization’s expansion process.
In May, for the first time, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and other countries attended as guests at the OIC foreign ministers meeting.
Saudi Arabia .. the future of “economic blocs”
The Saudi military and strategic expert, retired Major General Muhammad Al-Harbi, believes that Saudi Arabia views the BRICS as “an economic organization focused on a financial system parallel to Swift and concerned with global supply chains.”
SWIFT is a global financial system founded in 1973 focused on transferring funds around the world and operates as a secure messaging system that connects more than 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries.
In response to the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s banks were isolated from the global SWIFT system as part of a package of sanctions adopted by Western countries against Moscow, as this move further isolates Russia from the global financial system.
In his video address during the recent BRICS summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia is “redirecting” its trade flows to BRICS countries and other “reliable international partners,” according to the text of the Kremlin statement.
He added that the alliance was “developing reliable alternative mechanisms for international settlements” and “exploring the possibility of creating an international reserve currency on the basis of the BRICS basket of currencies.”
Al-Harbi told Al-Hurra that BRICS is an organization “of an economic nature, not an ideological one,” explaining that “the future is for economic blocs” after “military alliances have proven that they are unsustainable, with the exception of NATO.”
He added that the world “is witnessing the drawing of an advanced and modern geopolitical map due to the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war and (problems) of supply and food chains, in addition to the decline in global economic growth and inflation, including the United States and the European Union.”
He pointed out that “all countries evaluate the situation according to their own interests, and then common interests… Security and the economy are inseparable.”
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest crude oil exporters, owning 15 percent of global oil reserves, and a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Al-Harbi said that “Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries in general began in 2015 in a first stage with diversity and balance in strategic relations and international partnerships … and this policy was strengthened in accordance with the common interests of the GCC states after the Al-Ula meeting in early 2021.”
Egypt .. Searching for a “strong alliance”
For his part, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Egyptian Parliament, Imad Gad, affirms Egypt’s desire to join the “BRICS” group, as there are gains from Cairo’s membership in this powerful group, as he put it.
Gad told Al-Hurra TV website that “joining important economies such as China, India and Brazil increases cooperation, economic interests, and joint coordination, and opens great prospects for the Egyptian economy after joining with strong economies in the world.”
Last month, the President of the International Forum of BRICS countries, Purnima Anand, announced that Egypt and other countries might join this economic alliance, noting in statements to the Russian newspaper “Izvestia” that the accession of the new members would take place quickly.
Gad believes that any non-oil Arab country has its interest in joining this “huge and strong” alliance, adding: “The member states are promising and have left the second world and reached the first world.”
However, he believes that the accession of Arab countries to the BRICS group “raises the ire of the United States, which considers the Middle East an area of influence.”
Last June, presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said that BRICS “is one of the most important economic gatherings in the world,” and that Egypt’s invitation to attend the summit “reflects the strength of the ties based on the comprehensive strategic partnership in various fields between Egypt and China.” , according to the newspaper,Pyramids“Governmental.
Despite this, Gad clarifies that the Arab countries that are considering joining the BRICS do not make them an ally of China and Russia, given that the basis of this organization is economic.
“It is absolutely certain that joining (it will be) an economic group and not a political alliance, but the increase in economic cooperation affects the political sphere. It is not possible to be a member of BRICS and vote on decisions against China and Russia,” he said.
Algeria .. the “eastern” camp
With regard to Algeria, the oil-producing state and a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, professor of political science at the University of Algiers, Taoufik Boukadeh, believes that “Algeria is seeking to obtain the privileges possessed by these fast-growing countries in order to contribute to achieving an economic take-off.”
He pointed out that the member states of this organization have economies and “experience in the possibility of assisting countries to achieve development in the economic field,” as he put it.
Boukadeh told Al-Hurra that the Arab countries that intend to join the BRICS, such as Morocco, Egypt and Algeria, are seeking to obtain some concessions, especially since the organization’s main project is to create a financial system parallel to the current international system.
He added, “Many of these countries see the (current) economic system as unfair and seek other solutions,” he said.
He points out that Algeria’s goal in joining the BRICS alliance is “more political than economic, especially since Algeria feels a kind of dissatisfaction with Western powers over its behavior and is trying to find support or protection from other powerful international parties that do not allow Algeria’s interests to be compromised in the future.”
He said that Algeria, since its independence, “is in fact closer to the eastern camp than to the western,” adding that “the United States and the West do not allow such behavior for a country close to Europe that is relied upon to be an alternative to Russia in the field of gas,” given that “Algeria’s accession to this organization is considered bias.” Another pole led by Russia.
Boukadeh rules out that Algeria will join BRICS in the near future, as Algeria does not meet the economic conditions imposed by this group, according to him.
He continued, “The economic conditions imposed by this organization are not available in Algeria, including the size of economic growth, the size of the public debt and the size of human capabilities in order to achieve economic growth, and Algeria is still suffering from problems.”
He pointed out that it is possible to annex Algeria if “the economic conditions are exceeded and the political option is adopted by attracting other countries that are not satisfied with the current international system.”
India.. an attempt to find a balance
While the Russian and Chinese discourse on an alternative economic system is rising, India has played a major role in resisting the transformation of BRICS into an organization directed against Western countries, given that Delhi is an ally of Washington and a member of a four-way alliance led by the United States, which also includes Australia and Japan, and aims to limit Chinese influence in the region. The Indian and Pacific Oceans.
In June, before the last BRICS summit,BloombergUnidentified Indian officials said India was looking to “ensure that any joint statement from the summit is neutral and prevent attempts by China and Russia to use the summit to achieve a propaganda victory against the United States and its allies.”
Officials said Modi’s government would also seek to delay China’s efforts to expand the BRICS group by pushing the organization to decide on criteria for adding new members to the alliance.
In this context, Alexander Gabov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, ruled out the alliance taking any effective steps against the West, saying that India “would be very complicated…as it would send clear messages that it is ready to work closely with Russia and China.”
He said, “The inclusion of more countries gives (the organization) more legitimacy, but I am not sure if this will exceed the symbolism at the present time,” according to the network.CNNNewsletter.
And Michael Kugelman, an Asia expert at the Wilson Center, agreed with him, emphasizing in an interview with the magazine:Foreign PolicyIndia may pledge full support for what BRICS is doing, but in reality it is “betting that BRICS will not be able to move forward on a lot of issues and plans that are being discussed,” he says.