[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] S [/yt_dropcap]audi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain – a small Shiite-majority State governed by the Sunnis – Eastern Libya of Haftar and the “Council” of Cyrenaica, the Maldives, Yemen and the Mauritius have all broken off any political, diplomatic and economic relations with the Qatar Emirate, governed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.
It is not the first time that Saudi Arabia interferes heavily in the internal affairs of the Emirate. In fact, on June 26, 2013, the very strong Saudi pressures forced the then Prime Minister Hamad bin Yassim Al Thani to resign.
The airlines of the aforementioned Sunni nations have also announced they will no longer operate flights to Doha, Qatar’s capital. The ships of the aforementioned countries do no longer dock in the Emirate’s ports and, above all, the small State’s food supplies, 50% of which are shipped by land by Saudi Arabia, are no longer delivered to Doha.
Seven-eight hundred articulated lorries that do not supply food to Qatar from its only land border and remain blocked in Saudi Arabia.
Hence the Emirate cannot hold out for long, and not even Iran, which is very cautious and does not want to create a casus belli right now, has so far shown any interest in replacing Saudi Arabia in preserving Qatar’s food supplies and commercial communications.
If Iran did so, it would automatically agree with Saudi Arabia and other countries that follow the block of Qatar ordered by Saudi Arabia.
It is worth recalling that so far Doha has not been economically affected by the many Middle East tensions. It hosts the Al Jazeera satellite network, linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Sheikh al-Qaradawi, who resides in the Emirate after being expelled from Egypt.
Qatar is the largest exporter of natural gas in the world and one of the top ones for oil, which tempts many people and, above all, could become the point of reference for some smaller Sunni producers and for a new economic and extraction negotiation between Sunnis and Shiites.
It should be noted that Al Jazeera was born from the ashes of the BBC Arab section.
In fact, al-Thani studied in Great Britain, as all the Jordanian royal family and it is by no mere coincidence that the Hashemite Kingdom of Joardan has not followed – at least for the time being – the hard line of Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Jordan is aware that it would only stand to lose in a Middle-East bellum omnium contra omnes. Moreover, in the division of the work underlying the new Saudi-US alliance, Jordan focuses on the Iraqi-Syrian axis, while the Sunni central bloc is moving rapidly against Iran.
Furthermore, in one single hour of trading, the Emirate stock market has dropped by 7.6% and Qatar’s Central Bank share prices have fallen by 5.7%.
The Emirate has also raised foreign and domestic loans for a total of 200 billion Us dollars to fund the new infrastructure network that shall be ready within 2022, the year of the Doha World Cup.
There will not even be the Gulf Council Football Cup scheduled for this year.
The Egyptian banks do no longer deal with Qatar’s and the Emirate’s currency is no longer accepted, traded and exchanged in the Sunni countries. The Egyptian entrepreneurs are rapidly disinvesting in Qatar.
As is always the case, the economic war begins before the military war.
In all likelihood, it is the beginning of a real war that will hit Qatar indirectly and the Islamic Republic of Iran directly.
After Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia on May 20, the first US foreign visit of the new US President and the beginning of a historic alliance – much stronger and sounder than the one that has already characterized Saudi and US bilateral relations since the First Gulf War – this act against Qatar is the first action of the “Sunni NATO” proposed by Trump.
The political and propaganda foundation is trite and largely counterfactual: Iran “favours terrorism”.
The pot calling the kettle black. In fact the main States that have been supporting the “sword jihad”, at least since 1996, are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
According to some US sources, Saudi Arabia has spent at least 100 billion US dollars to spread Wahhabism, the Sunni tradition characterizing the Saudi Kingdom.
Just think that – in its 70 years of life – the USSR spent only 7 billion US dollars to spread Soviet Communism abroad.
2,500 Saudis are supposed to be still in Daesh-Isis ranks,
According to Iranian sources, the Iranians who joined Daesh-Isis are only 23 and are only Sunni Kurds.
As clearly shown by the Wikileaks of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mails, everybody knows that Saudi Arabia is a careful and generous funder of the Syrian-Iraqi Caliphate and it is strange that today Iran is blamed instead of Saudi Arabia.
Conversely, it is much more likely that Saudi Arabia, which now experiences a well known depletion of its largest and “oldest” oil wells, wants to immediately settle its accounts with the Iranian competitor.
According to data of March 2017, Iran currently exports as many as 3,37 million barrels a day as against 10,000 barrels per day before the P5 + 1 agreement.
The occasion making the riots between Saudi Arabia and Qatar occur was a note written last May by Emir al-Thani praising Israel and Iran – a note that Qatar’s news agency had defined fake news, as is today customary practice.
Nevertheless, later the Emir of Qatar congratulated Hassan Rouhani, the re-elected Iranian president, in an official phone call.
It was really too much for Saudi Arabia which, however, should know that Qatar and Iran have long been managing – on an equal footing – the largest natural gas field in the world, namely the South Pars-North Dome, even though the Iranian media criticize Qatar for the excessive gas extraction. It should also know that the Iranian Pasdaran leaders have long been collaborating with the Emirate’s intelligence services and that Qatar did not criticized Iran’s interferences during the Shiite uprising in Bahrain in January 2011. Finally, it should also know that the two States have had normal diplomatic relations since the demarcation agreement signed with Shah Pahlavi in 1969.
Therefore it is obvious that all the Gulf countries, including Qatar, are deeply concerned about Iran’s nuclear-conventional rearmament. In fact, all the Gulf Sunni powers, including Qatar, have already invested a total amount of 122 billion US dollars for rearming the region.
Hence realizing only today that the Emirate was a voice from outside, not following the herd of Saudi Arabia’s Sunni-Wahhabi hegemony, is really specious.
Also the United States should be more careful to take action against Qatar.
Al-Thani’s Emirate hosts the US Central Command, which is responsible for all US military operations and part of the intelligence ones for Afghanistan and the whole Middle East.
The US Air Force Command operating against Daesh-Isis is just outside the Emirate’s air base at Al-Udeid.
The United States knows all too well that Qatar has funded some Islamist groups and, above all, the Muslim Brotherhood that, in relation to the current jihad, plays the same role as the role played by the Eastern Communist Parties with regard to the Red Brigades or the Rote Armee Fraktion.
The Emirate, however, was also a very useful channel for the talks between the United States and the Taliban or other Islamist groups, as was the case with the liberation by the “Afghan students”’ of sergeant Bergdahl, who had been captured by the Taliban in 2009 and subsequently released in 2014.
Instead of mediating between Sunnis and Shiites, especially after Iran’s nuclear agreement of July 2014, the United States – and we fear even some of the most servile European allies – is even mounting fully useless tensions with Qatar only to follow their Saudi masters.
Conversely, in their meeting of May 20, the United States and Saudi Arabia drafted a document stating that Iran is the first sponsor of terrorism, which Qatar refused to sign, thus marking its end.
And creating the final casus belli with Iran, if nothing new emerges over the next few days.
An attack on Iran might come from Saudi Arabia itself, backed by Jordan on the sidelines, or, from a nuclear strike from the distant but nuclearized Pakistan, although we cannot rule out a Saudi-American naval block of the Persian Gulf to close communications and, above all, oil exports – as is already the case with Qatar.
Incidentally, a rise in oil price would currently be in the Saudi and US interest, but it would also favour Iran, which could sell its oil barrels to China – as it is already doing – and be paid in yuan, with the same trade logic of the current relations between Russia and China.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has long been giving orders and the United States is obeying them.
The Saudi lobby in the US establishment is much stronger than the Israeli one, that is much less powerful than it is believed.
From Henry Ford I, who translated Hitler’s Mein Kampf, to the Protestant and Puritan merchant banks, which have never hesitated to put obstacles in the way of Jewish finance, rarely avowed anti-Semitism has always been spreading in North American elites.
Colin Powell, the Secretary of State under George W. Bush’s Administration, was familiar with the Saudi Ambassador to Washington – and certainly the two Gulf Wars were better suited to the Saudi that the US strategic goals.
It is worth recalling that the Gulf strategic redesign, after Saddam Hussein’s fall, has really helped only one country, namely Iran.
Hence the United States eliminated a fierce enemy of Iran, with which the Shiites were fighting for ten years, and compressed the Taliban Sunni jihad, another deadly threat to the Shiite Republic of Iran.
Therefore, from now on, for the United States, Islamic terrorism (to which we never refers with its real name, jihad, which is a complex warlike technique, very different from Western war rationale) will be that of Hamas, which is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and is anyway funded by Iran, but also by the Sunni powers, and the Lebanese Hezb’ollah, which is certainly backed by Iran, but also by other Islamic and Sunni countries.
Hence, if the issue is “support to terrorism,” the United States should blame also and above all their Sunni allies, much more than they currently do with Iran and Qatar.
Therefore what would happen to the US Joint Command in the Emirate?
Does the United States think of transferring it, or rather, holding it hostage of Saudi Arabia?
Furthermore, Turkey signed a military alliance treaty with Qatar and pledged support for the Emirate if it were attacked.
And the Fifth US Fleet is stationed in Bahrain, another possible blackmail to the US in case of a Shiite-Sunni clash.
Obviously, considering the situation, an incident may occur at any time, especially between the US fleet and the Pasdaran small boats. There maritime areas are very narrow and Iran closely monitors the region: its large fleet of drones scans and patrols the ground and the movements of the troops.
Do we possibly want Turkey, NATO’s second Armed Force, to declare war on Saudi Arabia, with currently unimaginable consequences for the Alliance and the European economy?
It is really a nightmare to think about what would happen if a new oil crisis broke out in Europe, while there still persists the financial crisis originated in the United States in 2008, which shows no signs of abating.
According to the Financial Times, currently in North America, the burden of private and public debt is at record levels, even higher than those which caused the great financial crisis of 2008.
Indeed, the crisis had started in 2006 with the collapse of Lehman Brothers JP Morgan. Puritans vs. Jews.
American citizens have debt with credit cards to the tune of one trillion US dollars, and an additional trillion debt for student loans and also for buying houses and cars.
As from 2010 to date, US companies have debt amounting to 7.8 trillion US dollars and the aggregate debt – which is the sum of public and private debt – is even equal to 350% of GDP.
Just as the United States came out of the 1929 crisis only with World War II war expenses – and certainly not with the small Keynesian initiatives such as the Tennessee Valley Authority – today it could get out of the debt spiral and regain global strategic prominence only by starting a new great war, having the Middle East at its core.
A region that serves to contain Russia and China, regulate and control their economies and regionalize Europe and its euro, which is bothering the United States, as well as check where all the regional seas of the earth come, apart from Southeast Asia.
Nevertheless, currently the distribution of potentials is no longer that of the 1930s and 1940s and the strategic calculations described above may not provide the solution the United States desire.
Israel and Turkey in search of solutions
Twelve and eleven years have elapsed since the Davos and Mavi Marmara incidents, respectively, and Turkey-Israel relations are undergoing intense recovery efforts. They are two important Eastern neighbours and influence regional stability.
Currently, as in the past, relations between the two countries have a structure based on realpolitik, thus pursuing a relationship of balance/interest, and hinge around the Palestinian issue and Israel’s position as the White House’s privileged counterpart. However, let us now briefly summarise the history of Turkish-Jewish relations.
The first important event that comes to mind when mentioning Jews and Turks is that when over 200,000 Jews were expelled by the Spanish Inquisition in 1491, the Ottoman Empire invited them to settle in its territory.
Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognise Israel in 1949. Israel’s first diplomatic Mission to Turkey was opened on January 7, 1950 but, following the Suez crisis in 1956, relations were reduced to the level of chargé d’affaires. In the second Arab-Israeli war of 1967, Turkey chose not to get involved and it did not allow relations to break off completely.
The 1990s saw a positive trend and development in terms of bilateral relations. After the second Gulf War in 1991 -which, as you may recall, followed the first Iraqi one of 1980-1988 in which the whole world was against Iran (with the only exception of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria, Libya and the moral support of Enver Hoxha’s Albania) – Turkey was at the centre of security policy in the region. In that context, Turkey-Israel relations were seriously rekindled.
In 1993, Turkey upgraded diplomatic relations with Israel to ambassadorial level. The signing of the Oslo Accords between Palestine and Israel led to closer relations. The 1996 military cooperation agreement was signed between the two countries in the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey, which provided significant logistical and intelligence support to both sides.
In the 2000s, there was a further rapprochement with Israel, due to the “zero problems with neighbours” policy promoted by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party. I still remember issue No. 3/1999 of the Italian review of geopolitics “Limes” entitled “Turkey-Israel, the New Alliance”.
In 2002, an Israeli company undertook the project of modernising twelve M-60 tanks belonging to the Turkish armed forces. In 2004, Turkey agreed to sell water to Israel from the Manavgat River.
Prime Minister Erdoğan’s visit to Israel in 2005 was a turning point in terms of mediation between Palestine and Israel and further advancement of bilateral relations. In 2007, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas spoke at the Turkish Grand National Assembly one day apart. High-level visits from Israel continued.
On December 22, 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert came to Ankara and met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In that meeting, significant progress was made regarding Turkey’s mediation between Israel and Syria.
Apart from the aforementioned incidents, the deterioration of Turkish-Israeli relations occurred five days after the above stated meeting, i.e. Operation “Cast Lead” against Gaza on December 27, 2008. After that event, relations between the two sides were never the same as before.
Recently, however, statements of goodwill have been made by both countries to normalise political relations. In December 2020, President Erdoğan stated he wanted to improve relations with Israel and said: “It is not possible for us to accept Israel’s attitude towards the Palestinian territories. This is the point in which we differ from Israel – otherwise, our heart desires to improve our relations with it as well”.
In its relations with Israel, Turkey is posing the Palestinian issue as a condition. When we look at it from the opposite perspective, the Palestinian issue is a vital matter for Israel. It is therefore a severe obstacle to bilateral relations.
On the other hand, many regional issues such as Eastern Mediterranean, Syria and some security issues in the region require the cooperation of these two key countries. For this reason, it is clear that both sides wish at least to end the crisis, reduce rhetoric at leadership level and focus on cooperation and realpolitik areas.
In the coming months, efforts will certainly be made to strike a balance between these intentions and the conditions that make it necessary to restart bilateral relations with Israel on an equal footing. As improved relations with Israel will also positively influence Turkey’s relations with the United States.
Turkey seeks to avoid the USA and the EU imposing sanctions that could go so far as to increase anti-Western neo-Ottoman rhetoric, while improved relations with Israel could offer a positive outcome not only to avoid the aforementioned damage, but also to solve the Turkish issues related to Eastern Mediterranean, territorial waters, Libya and Syria. Turkey has no intention of backing down on such issues that it deems vital. Quite the reverse. It would like to convey positive messages at the level of talks and Summits.
Another important matter of friction between Turkey and Israel is the use of oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterranean reserves between Egypt, Israel, Greece and Cyprus (Nicosia).
This approach is excluding Turkey. The USA and the EU also strongly support the current situation (which we addressed in a previous article) for the additional reason that France has been included in the equation.
The alignment of forces and fronts in these maritime areas were also widely seen during the civil war in Libya, where Turkey, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, France, as well as other players such as Russia, Italy, etc. came into the picture.
Ultimately, a point of contact between Turkey and Israel is the mediation role that the former could play in relations between Iran and Israel, especially after the improvement of Turkish-Iranian relations.
Indeed, in the aftermath of the U.S. airstrike in Baghdad – which killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on January 3, 2020 -the Turkish Foreign Minister stated that the U.S. action would increase insecurity and instability in the region. He also reported that Turkey was worried about rising tensions between the United States and Iran that could turn Iraq back into an area of conflict to the detriment of peace and stability in the region. There was also a condolence phone call from President Erdoğan to Iranian President Rouhani, urging him to avoid a conflictual escalation with the United States following the airstrike.
Consequently, it is in the Turkish President’s interest to maintain an open channel with Iran, so that he himself can soften the mutual tensions between Israel and Iran, and – in turn – Israeli diplomacy can influence President Biden’s choices, albeit less pro-Israel than Donald Trump’s.
Turkey is known to have many relationship problems with the United States – especially after the attempted coup of July 15-16, 2016 and including the aforementioned oil issue – and realises that only Israel can resolve the situation smoothly.
In fact, Israel-USA relations are not at their best as they were under President Trump. President Erdoğan seems to be unaware of this fact, but indeed the Turkish President knows that the only voice the White House can hear is Israel’s, and certainly not the voice of the Gulf monarchies, currently at odds with Turkey.
Israel keeps a low profile on the statements made by President Erdoğan with regard to the Palestinians- since it believes them to be consequential – as well as in relation to a series of clearly anti-Zionist attitudes of the Turkish people.
We are certain, however, that President Erdoğan’s declarations of openness and Israeli acquiescence will surely yield concrete results.
The 25-year China-Iran agreement
On March 27, 2021, a document entitled “Comprehensive Document of Iran-China Cooperation” was signed by Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, and his Chinese counterpart. The Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had previously called “the agreement between the presidents of Iran and China correct and wise.” However, the Iranian people have widely criticized it as entirely against their national interests. Iranian officials have not even publicized the document’s contents yet probably because it is highly contentious.
In 2019, excerpts from this document were revealed by the Economist Petroleum news site. The details included:
- China invests $460 billion in Iranian oil and transportation sectors. China will get its investment back from the sale of Iranian crude during the first five years.
- China buys Iranian petroleum products at least 32% cheaper.
- The Chinese can decide before other companies whether to participate in completing all or part of a petrochemical project.
- 50,000 Chinese security personnel will be deployed to protect Chinese projects in Iran.
- China has the right to delay the repayment of its debts for up to two years in exchange for Iranian products’ purchase.
- At least one Russian company will be allowed to participate in the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline design together with the Chinese operator.
- Every year, 110 senior Revolutionary Guards officers travel to China and Russia for military training. 110 Chinese and Russian advisers will be stationed in Iran to train Revolutionary Guards officers.
- Development of Iranian military equipment and facilities will be outsourced to China, and Chinese and Russian military aircraft and ships will operate the developed facilities.
Even some circles within the regime have criticized the agreement. The state-run Arman newspaper wrote, “China has a 25-year contract with Iran and is investing $460 billion in Iran. It is somewhat ambiguous. Presently, China is holding the money it owes us and blames it on the U.S. sanctions. How can we trust this country to invest $460 billion in Iran?”
Last year, Iran and China had the lowest trade in the previous 16 years, and according to statistics, by the end of 2020, the volume of trade between Iran and China was about $16 billion, which, including undocumented oil sales, still does not reach $20 billion.
Jalal Mirzaei, a former member of Iran’s parliament, said: “If in the future the tensions between Tehran and Washington are moderated, and we see the lifting of some of the sanctions, China can also provide the basis for implementing the provisions of this document, but if the situation continues like today, Beijing will not make any effort to implement the document, as it is essentially unable to take concrete action on the ground because of the sanctions.”
Iran is vital to China in two ways, through its geopolitical location and its geo-economic importance. China knows that it does not have enough natural resources and is currently having a hard time supplying them from Russia and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia supplies its energy needs from oil giant Aramco, half of which is owned by the United States. That is why China is looking for a safe alternative that the United States will not influence, and the only option is Iran. They may also have a two-pronged plan in Iran, which involves using Iran’s profitable market and making Iran into a lever of pressure against the United States for additional concessions.
The Iranian regime’s objectives
The deal could deepen China’s influence in the Middle East and undermine U.S. efforts to isolate the Iranian regime. While the international dispute over the Iranian regime’s nuclear program has not been resolved, it is unclear how much this agreement could be implemented. The regime intends to make it a bargaining chip in possible future nuclear negotiations. However, some of Iran’s top authorities believe that China and Russia cannot be trusted 100 percent.
Due to the sanctions, the regime has a tough time to continue providing financial support to its proxy militias in the region. The regime also faced two major domestic uprisings in 2017 and 2019. Khamenei’s regime survived the widespread uprisings by committing a massacre, killing 1,500 young protesters in the 2019 uprising alone, according to the Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and later confirmed by the Iranian regime’s Interior Ministry officials. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, Khamenei has been able to delay another major uprising.
Iran’s economy is on the verge of collapse. Khamenei must bow to western countries’ demands regarding the nuclear issue, including an end to its regional interventions and its ballistic missile program. Khamenei will struggle to save his regime from s imminent uprisings and a deteriorating economy that will undoubtedly facilitate more protests by the army of the unemployed and the hungry at any moment.
Unlike the 2015 JCPOA, the Iranian regime in 2021 is in a much weaker position. In fact, by many accounts, it is the weakest in its 40-year history. By signing the recent Iran-China agreement and auctioning Iranian resources, Khamenei wants to pressure the United States to surrender and restore the 2015 JCPOA as quickly as possible. But in the end, this pivot will not counteract domestic pressures that target the regime’s very existence.
China-Arab Relations: From Silk to Friendship
China and the Arabs have a long and rich economic and cultural history, and this distinguished relationship still exists today, with a promising future. This bilateral relationship between the two nations is based on the principles of respect and non-interference in internal affairs or foreign policies. Therefore, China’s relationship with the Arabs as well as with other nations is unique and a model to be followed. If you meet a Chinese person, the first phrase will be “Alabo” or an Arab in Mandarin, and he/she will welcome you. The Chinese state’s dealings with its counterparts can be measured based on the model of this Chinese citizen. China deals with the Arabs on the basis of friendship and historical ties.
The history of Sino-Arab relations goes back to the Tang Dynasty, and these relations developed with the flourishing of trade between the two nations. Since China was famous for its high quality silk, this trade route was called the “Silk Road”. Baron Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen, better known in English as Baron von Richthofen, was a German traveller, geographer, and scientist. He is noted for coining the terms “Seidenstraße” and “Seidenstraßen” = “Silk Road” or “Silk Route” in 1877.
Chinese-Arab relations have developed in contemporary history. In 1930, China established official relations with the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A library in China was named the “Fouad Islamic Library”, after the late Egyptian king, “Fuad the First”. In 1956, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser cut ties with China and established relations with the Communist People’s Republic of China and inaugurated an embassy in Egypt. In the same year, the Arab League established relations with the People’s Republic of China. By the year 1990, all Arab countries cut their relations with the Republic of China and established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.
In 2004, the China-Arab Cooperation Forum was established, and today it is considered a milestone for the Sino-Arab relationship. At its inauguration, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing delivered a speech stating:“The Arab world is an important force on the international scene, and that China and the Arab countries have enjoyed a long friendship. Our similar history, our common goals and our broad interests have been credited with enhancing cooperation between the two sides; no matter how the international situation changes, China has always been the sincere friend of the Arab world”. The China-Arab Cooperation Forum was officially established during the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to the headquarters of the League of Arab States in January of 2004.
Hu Jintao indicated at that time that the formation of the forum is a continuation of the traditional friendship between China and the Arab world. The Chinese president said at the time, “The establishment of the forum is conducive to expanding mutual cooperation in a variety of fields. He added that China had made four proposals; First, maintaining mutual respect, fair treatment and sincere cooperation at the political level. Second, strengthening economic and trade relations through cooperation in the fields of investment and trade, contracted projects, labor services, energy, transportation, communications, agriculture, environmental protection and information. Third, expand cultural exchanges. Finally, conducting training for the employees.”
During the second session of the forum in Beijing in 2006, China showed its sympathy for the issues of the Arab world and its interest in the peace process between Palestine and Israel, since China is a peace-loving country; it presented the idea of “a nuclear-free Middle East”. China is the best friend of the Arab countries today. Although some Arab countries have strong relations with the West whose policy does not match the Chinese policy, but all Arab countries agree on friendly and good relations with the People’s Republic of China.
The Arab citizen is not interested today in the foreign policy of the US, the deadly weapons of the US and Russia, or European culture, but rather the livelihood and economy, and this is what China provides through its wise economic policy. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road Initiative, or New Silk Road, which will restore glow to China-Arab relations; as the Arab world is in a strategic location on the initiative map. Thus, the Arab countries are an important partner for China in the initiative. Although the volume of trade exchanges between China and the Arab countries exceeded 200 billion US dollars, which increased 10 times over the past decade, there was no commercial and institutional arrangement to facilitate trade between the two sides.
China, as a peaceful and non-invasive country, aims to promote economic cooperation with Arab region on an equal basis because it considers the Arab world a historic partner. The historical experience of the Arabs with the Chinese through the Silk Road has confirmed that China differs from the nations of colonialism and imperialism, which consider the Arab region a place rich in natural resources only. In his historic speech at the Arab League, Chinese President Xi stressed that China will not seek to extend influence and search for proxies in the Middle East. The Chinese initiatives will contribute to establishing security and stability through economic development and improving the people’s livelihood, in line with the post-2015 development agenda and the aspirations of the Arab people for a better life, as the Chinese experience proves that development is the key to digging out the roots of conflicts and extremism in all its forms.
China is a neutral country and does not favor the use of violence. During the Syrian crisis, for example, the Chinese envoy to the Security Council raised his hand three times, meaning that China, with its wise diplomacy, supported the Syrian regime without entering the military war. During the recent Chinese military parade, Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed some Chinese military capabilities and thus sent a message to the enemies that China will always be ready if a war is imposed on it, and a message of support to China’s allies. The Arab region today needs a real partner who possesses economic and military power and international political influence, such as China; to ensure the success of the Belt and Road Initiative, and to consolidate the China-Arab relations and raise it to the level of a strategic alliance.
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