During the past years, several statements about “the new American world order” and “unipolarism” and “the new American century” have emerged over the past years, and other expressions that emphasized the United States’ uniqueness in “world leadership”, as it is the only unchallenged superpower. The American academic promotion and theorizing of absolute American leadership, and on the other hand, several writings have appeared – among them by prominent Chinese analysts and strategists – that go to “question the American unipolar system” and talk about a “multi-polar world”, and try to refute the allegations of the dominant American power, and question It could maintain its position in light of the rise of China, and the announcement by Chinese President “Xi Jinping” of its Belt and Road initiative in 2013().
As a researcher specializing in Chinese political affairs – and to understand the Chinese strategic analytical mindset, approaching it methodically towards its vision of the United States’ policy around the world – and through my reading and reviewing and analyzing a number of (documents of the ruling Chinese Communist Party) and analyzing them, Beijing has always “classified the United States, as a true enemy of China”, and here (there are a Chinese document) dating back to 1992 says: “The United States of America, since its transformation into a single superpower – has been working hard to achieve new hegemony and prevail over power politics – all this in light of its entry into the stage of relative decline and the emergence of the limits of its capabilities”. In 1995, the Chinese President “Jiang Zemin” declared that: “the hostile forces of the West did not give up a minute from their plans to Westernize and divide our country”. While his foreign minister said, prior to the annual meeting of the “ASEAN Group”, that: “The United States Abandoning its view of itself as the savior of the East, as we do not recognize the intransigence of the United States and its constant claim of its right to play the role of guaranteeing peace and stability in Asia under the pretext of defending its allies” ().
Here, the Chinese Academy “Zi Zhongwan” – the former director of the American Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences – expressed Chinese doubts and concerns about the US strategy for world domination. In the course of her evaluation of US – Chinese relations, she described them as “fragile relations”, and “Zonghuan” said that “the main factor here is the American position on the transformation of China into a modern, relatively strong country”, and although the official statements remain as they are, the question is What still arises is: To what degree does the American awareness allow China to be strong, with the assertion of the prominent Chinese diplomat in the Foreign Ministry “Dai Bingo” in an official speech on December 6, 2011, that: “We must adhere to the path of peaceful development”.
According to the Chinese analysis, they believe that “The United States believes that China is developing by leaps and bounds and is becoming more difficult to control”. In other words, “the acceleration of Chinese modernization does not always appear to be in line with those American interests”. Accordingly, Chinese leaders have begun to repeatedly talk in their international political speeches about “China’s active presence in the international arena”, with particular emphasis on “China’s rise” is a “peaceful rise” ().
On the Egyptian side, and the effects of this (the ongoing political, security, economic and regional competition between China and the United States of America on Egypt), we will find here that Egypt’s relations with the major international powers, chiefly the two competing powers (China and the United States of America) occupy a special importance on the (Egyptian foreign policy agenda), especially with the directions of the Egyptian political leadership to President (Abdel Fattah El-Sisi) to support and strengthen (Egypt’s relations with the major powers without having relations with any of them directed against the other), and that was the most important statement that the Egyptian Foreign Minister (Sameh Shoukry) summed up the foreign agenda to Egypt during his meeting with members of the (new Egyptian Parliament) on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 ().
Egypt is considered the representative of Arab, African, Islamic, developing and emerging economies, and its influence in international and regional affairs is increasing, and, on the other hand, the (Chinese development model) is widely welcomed in Egypt.
Hence, China’s keenness to provide permanent support to the Egyptian government’s efforts to maintain stability, develop the economy and improve the people’s livelihood. China also supported the most important thing (the path of development in Egypt in line with its national conditions), in addition to China’s support for Egypt’s growing and large role in international and regional affairs, to discuss Egypt’s relations with the great powers, especially (China and Washington), and to understand the extent of their (positively ornegatively) influence on the Egyptian role in the region, and Egypt’s regional and international relations. Therefore, the Egyptian researcher tried to present and analyze the following points to understand the course of transformations and Egypt’s relations with China and the United States and the importance of each of them for Egypt and the region in (creating balance and areas of influence and defending interests), as follows:
Egyptian President El-Sisi outreach to China and its impact on his relationship with both the USA and Israel
China tends to play an active and increasing role in Egypt and the Arab region in order to secure its energy security, and this does not mean that Chinese and American policies will clash, but the difference appears that China supports the features of Egyptian internal reform led by “El-Sisi” and supports Egypt’s policies after (the success of the June 30 revolution in Egypt), China also strongly opposed any external attempts to impose conditions for transformation on Egypt after (the June 30 Revolution), as China was one of the most important international powers in the world that supported President (El-Sisi), and defended the right of the Egyptian people to solve their problems by themselves, without Interference in his internal affairs, and here (China’s stance towards Egypt is closely related to its sense of national sovereignty and its successful experience in economic reform). We find that the Egyptian-Chinese cooperation achieves a strategic interest for both parties, as Egypt achieves strategic benefits from its economic, political and cultural ties with China, with the importance of Chinese investments in Cairo and the diversity of relations and partnerships, and the importance of the (Suez Canal) as a global navigation corridor that serves Beijing’s strategic interests, as a starting point to China from Egypt around the world ().
Egyptian-Chinese relations are closer and deeper, which maximizes the gains of the Egyptian state in its relations with other international powers, especially (the United States of America and its ally Israel) in the region. It also diversifies relations in front of the Egyptian side, and on the other hand, the rapprochement between China and Egypt leads to strengthening China’s relations with Arab countries, which leads to strengthening and strengthening its political, economic and cultural ties within the framework of a Chinese strategy to strengthen relations with the so-called countries of (the enlarged neighborhood), Which includes: the countries of Central Asia and the countries of the Middle East, in light of (real indicators of the new international order towards pluralism), and with the presence of many international transformations, especially after the global spread of the Corona pandemic and the spread of the (Covid-19) virus around the world, and the world’s realization that China is the only force capable of extricating the world from its crises. Through the multilateralism that China has advocated, the Chinese President (Xi Jinping) shows us how important China is to Egypt and the Arab countries, represented in (ending the American hegemony) over Egypt and the region, and achieving a political, economic and military balance in the face of American and Western interference policies in the internal affairs of Egypt and all Arab countries, which we have suffered from for many decades.
Here we find that the “Belt and Road” initiative helped stabilize the financial system in Egypt after (the success of the June 30 Revolution in Egypt), which helped save the deterioration of the Egyptian citizen’s income. The financial system in Egypt was suffering from severe turmoil between the years (2013-2014). This was during the stage in which China launched the “Belt and Road” initiative. The financial system in Egypt was (a dual currency rate system before November 2016), where there is a big difference between the official rates of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar and market prices, and the difference doubled in 2016, for example, the official price of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar It was up to (1.78 pounds), while its price in the market was (18 pounds), so the difference between them was really very large. However, Egypt started adopting a free trade policy after November 2016, which made the entire financial system become more stable ().
Given the importance of the Egyptian side to the Chinese, we find that (the extensive coverage by the Chinese press of what the Egyptian press publishes), and as (the Chinese Xinhua News Agency in its Arabic edition), it has, for example, a fixed paragraph that covers the events published by the Egyptian newspapers in an intensive and in-depth way, due to the importance of the events of Egypt for China. The (Chinese Communist Party) has also established strong relations with its Egyptian counterpart and with more than (30 Arab Communist, Leftist and Socialist Parties).
It is clear that China aspires to play (global roles), and the futility of escalating the confrontation with regional and global powers, and thus the presence of (unlimited Chinese political support in the Security Council and international forums for Egypt and all Arab countries with what distinguishes Chinese policy from refraining from imposing dictates related to In the internal affairs of countries), just as China, in its endeavor to settle the “Taiwan problem” on the basis of (one country, two systems), needs the recognition of 22 Arab countries, which is more than (10% of the members of the international community) that (Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory). The Arab countries represent a political back for China on the international arena, and China, in its endeavor to gain more international standing, needs Arab recognition of its role in the issues of concern to Egypt and all Arab countries.
On the other hand, although the Chinese “Belt and Road” initiative does not officially include Israel in its maps, the geographical location of Israel, the important Chinese economic participation in it, and the emerging peace agreements in the Middle East, put Israel in a major strategic point in the Chinese initiative, and of course when so from (influence on the Palestinian cause), Egypt and the Arab countries.
In order for China to succeed in its new policy in Egypt and the Middle East, as (China abandoned its old strategy based on ideological considerations), and adopted a completely different new policy in defining its allies based on the principle of utilitarianism (pragmatism), and a strategy (openness and exit regionally and globally), at the level on the regional level, China has adopted a policy of (good neighborliness), in order to achieve two goals:
The first goal: smashing the sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies, and to thwart the attempt to contain and isolate China.
The second goal: preparing the regional environment to be an environment conducive to achieving development at this stage of the (Chinese rise), which is called (building the four moderns), which means progress in industry, agriculture, technology and national defense, which is what it was called, according to the speech Chinese President “Xi Jinping”, known as: (the politics of socialist modernization)().
On the US side, all indications indicate that (the new Biden administration) is heading to adopt (hard-line policies towards China). During his confirmation session in the US Senate, the new Secretary of Defense in the (Joe Biden administration) era, General (Lloyd Austin), described China as a “growing danger, and that confronting it would be one of the most prominent directions of the Pentagon’s activities” in the Biden era.
As for National Security Adviser (Jake Sullivan), he indicated – in an interview with the Peace Institute in Washington on January 29, 2021 – that “the Chinese believe that their model is more successful than the American model, and this is what they are promoting around the world ().
Here, the final analysis of the Egyptian researcher indicates that, both (Egypt and Israel will inevitably be affected by the continuing confrontation between Washington and Beijing), especially since the two great powers, the American and Chinese, are in the process of “a new cold war, but it is not like the Soviet-American cold war, because the economies of the two countries are highly complex interconnected with All countries of the world, which will negatively affect Egypt, Israel and all countries of the Middle East. We do not deal with China now as a closed country like the Soviet Union that can be contained by closing the door on it”. It also doubles the risk of the two powers colliding on the world, their huge economic interdependence and the influence of the rest of the world by it.
Hence, (the continued desire of Egypt, Israel and all countries in the region to deal economically with China and with Washington in many other files, especially in various political aspects), this will negatively affect everyone, especially in light of the United States’ desire to preserve its position as the largest military power. And economic issues in the world, which leads some to pressure (adopting zero-sum equations in its relationship with China, which is struggling economically and militarily in the Middle East).
Perhaps this explains the reasons for the visit of the former US Secretary of State during the Trump’s administration, “Mike Pompeo”, in his first foreign visit after the outbreak of the new Corona virus crisis to Israel on May 13, 2020, when “Pompeo” came to express the US’s concern about the Chinese – Israeli rapprochement – “which exposes the Israelis interests to danger”, as he put it. And most importantly, “Mike Pompeo” not only expressed his concern to the Israeli government, but also deliberately (made his speech in Israel a launching pad for addressing the countries of the region that intend any rapprochement with China (). As a result of this speech, the government of Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) withdrew, on May 26, 2020, the tender for establishing a water desalination project in Israel from the Chinese company “Hutcheson”.
The White House also addressed the Israeli government headed by (Benjamin Netanyahu) and alerted it to the necessity (to restrict the volume of Chinese investments in Israel, as it is a sign of danger threatening its strategic alliance with Israel).
According to the final evaluation of the Egyptian researcher, it is noted that (not all government corridors in Israel stand on one position in front of the file of direct Chinese investments between the two parties), for( two reasons), as follows:
The first reason: It is not convinced with the considerations presented by the United States to defend its position, which prompted some Israeli institutions to call the US position “phobia and fear of China”.
The second reason: China is offering huge investment packages (without Israel offering any corresponding political concessions), such as: settling the Palestinian issue in contrast to the European position, or the progressive democratic position in the United States.
Based on this analysis, it can be concluded that (Washington will continue its pressure on all countries in the region, especially its ally Israel to sever its relationship with China). However, Israel, Egypt and all countries in the region are determined to benefit commercially from the Chinese side, and also to deal with Washington, and try to Both (Egypt, Israel and all countries avoid confrontation or support with or against any of them, whether American or Chinese, while continuing to deal with them economically and politically, according to the interests of each country separately, to reflect this on the national security of countries).
The impact of prioritizing “no pressures and orientation policy to the East” relationships on the future of the Egyptian and American collaboration
China began searching for (a new strategic concept of engagement in the Middle East), shortly after the (Obama administration) announced the (transformation from the Middle East region and its gradual withdrawal from it towards the continent of Asia) in 2011().
In 2012, “Wang Jisi”, the most prominent Chinese foreign policy commentator, proposed a concept he called “Westernization”, writing that: “as Washington rebalances Asia, the relationship between America and China has become increasingly controversial and based on a zero-sum conclusion” ().
Chinese diplomat “Wang Jisi” adding that: “This brings us to talk about” the new Chinese vision of the world: from geo-economics to geopolitics”.
By studying the bilateral interaction between “two strategic forces” that are effective for Egypt and the region, with a hypothetical consideration of the Arab world and Egypt at the heart of it, and it is considered (a variable dependent on the influence of two independent variables, namely “Chinese rise” and “American unilateralism”). Hence, it can be considered (the Egyptian shift eastward towards China and Russia to ease American and Western pressure on it) depends on several Chinese factors in the first place, namely:
1.The extent to which China’s economic power will increase and its role, presence and influence will increase in the coming period in the Middle East.
2.The most important thing that drives Beijing’s policies towards Egypt and the region is “achieving the goal and the mutual benefit of all parties, and not imposing their policies or agendas with threats and imposing sanctions on countries such as Washington”, so China generally focuses on areas of mutual cooperation in the economy, culture, security and technology().
3.The most important thing for the Egyptian researcher in the future is (the extent to which Beijing is able to develop itself to defend its allies and partners such as Egypt and others, in the event that any Chinese ally is exposed to any unsecured confrontation with Washington, and is China really ready to defend Egypt and its allies?)().
4.Here we find that this growth in Sino-Egyptian and Arab relations, and what appears to be (adopting the policy of heading east), behind it is a high Egyptian realization that (the world will not continue on the unipolar system, and that the world system is in its current state – especially in a post-world world). The Corona pandemic and the United States’ retreat in its internal affairs – has begun to move strongly towards “multipolarity”, of which China is one of its most prominent components. Therefore, the freedom of Egyptian foreign policy is in “diversifying alternatives”, and this growing trend is also reinforced by many intransigent American positions towards Issues of the region and the world, and among the most prominent of these American positions:
1.The trade war that the US administration set up for former President (Trump) against China and the European Union, and the extent of (its international influences on Egypt and the Middle East, and issues of international trade freedom).
2.The withdrawal of the American administration and its disavowal of its commitments on matters that have been internationally agreed upon, such as those related to (climate change, and its lack of respect for international legitimacy decisions and the international law system).
3.Washington and “Trump’s administration” declared alone that (Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the announcement of the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem), which angered and angered Egypt and all Arabs, and Middle Eastern countries against American policies that contravene United Nations and international community decisions, as well as (the American Presidency’s issuance of decisions that have affected other Arab countries like Syria that is not subject to its sovereignty), And the last of which was that internationally unacceptable decision, contrary to international legitimacy and laws, which was issued by the United States of America (granting the Golan to Israel, as if the Golan is a piece of American territory)().
In my personal opinion – as an expert in Chinese political affairs – this is the focal point on which any future analysis depends on (the Egyptian orientation towards the east towards China or Russia), and this is what entails the necessity of (studying, monitoring and analyzing shifts in the Chinese political role in Egypt and the Arab region. It has now become a focal area in China’s new foreign policy, especially with the Chinese decision-maker realizing that the American presence and increase in influence and penetration in Egypt and the Arab world may be directed against its interests and that it embodies some of the American efforts to contain China by Egypt and the Arabs).
The Implications of the accelerating and doubling of the economic growth between Egypt and China on the relationships with the USA
Many “Chinese foreign policy thinkers” were very concerned about the risks that would be counterproductive to an ambitious Chinese project such as the Belt and Road Initiative in the Middle East. (The Chinese strategists) understood the logic of (harnessing the country’s economic power for political benefit), but they were afraid of being entangled in a web of national and sectarian rivalries in the region. Especially, with the majority of Chinese political analyzes indicating that avoiding such an outcome is no easy task. The Middle East has been a dilemma for many of the world’s major powers, including the United States of America and Britain.
Hence, the Egyptian researcher understood – as a specialist in Chinese political affairs – that China’s goal is (to achieve influence without getting involved in the Middle East, through the Belt and Road Initiative, which succeeded brilliantly in achieving China’s agenda). Although there are – several countries in the Middle East, including problems with regional neighboring countries, such as: (Iran and Israel) – included in the list of countries supporting the Belt and Road Initiative, nevertheless, all of these countries have committed in one way or another to partnering with China, and this alone should be (a warning bell and a big fear for Washington). All of these countries do not agree on almost anything, but they all support closer relations with China.
However, despite the remarkable achievements that have been achieved through the (Chinese Belt and Road Initiative) in the Middle East and Egypt over the past five years, the Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” still faces many doubts from Washington about (Chinese influence in the region).
The United States began promoting and intimidating slogans of “Chinese imperialism”, claiming that “China is using sovereign debt to obey other countries that received Chinese financial aid to their will and pass their policy”. However, Washington’s allegations regarding the alleged“Chinese imperialism”lack scrutiny and further empirical evidence for them ().
Hence, (the acceleration of economic growth in the relations of Egypt and the countries of the region with China will inevitably affect relations with Washington in the future), as all the existing indicators and data confirms and anticipated expectations that Egyptian and Arab cooperation with China is a matter of great importance and is on the way to a stage leading to rise and expansion, This was called by all Chinese officials in the various official occasions. Officials in China always assert that (if East Asia, in which China is located, unites with North Africa in which Egypt and the Arab countries are located, this will affect the course of international events, and it will contribute. In reaching multipolarity, which is something that the United States does not want in order not to affect its control over the Arab region in particular and the whole world in general)?
Egyptian courtship to China as a great power and its implications on the American and Israeli interests in the Middle East
There was a great fear in China that the great openness to Egypt and the Middle East would provoke (antagonizing the other great powers, especially Washington). This was confirmed by the Chinese researcher (Zhi Zhang), who wrote in the “Global Times” in 2013, that “the Chinese strategy of immersion in the Middle East will inevitably harm the Chinese relations with Russia and America and lead China to invest in “dangerous fields”, hence, “China shouldn’t take a big step in opening up to the Middle East”, according to the analysis of the Chinese researcher (Zhang)().
Egypt and all Gulf countries, including (Saudi Arabia and the UAE), also used “Huawei to build fifth-generation networks and communications infrastructure”, and all of them defied US pressure. (The UAE was the first foreign country to grant emergency approval for the (Covid-19) vaccine from (the Chinese company Sinopharm), and the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh (Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum) tweeted, taking a picture of himself apparently receiving an injection of that Chinese vaccine and not the other vaccines that Promoted by Washington and Britain.
This confirms the importance of the Chinese side to Egypt, without its funding and experience, it will become difficult to implement a number of prominent Egyptian projects such as (the new administrative capital, the new industrial zone of the Suez Canal, and the great activity of the Chinese giant “TEDA” in attracting hundreds of Chinese companies, and implementing Many Chinese projects in the Suez Canal area) on the ground. In return, China wishes to take advantage of Egypt’s position in the Arab world and Africa in order to facilitate bilateral and collective cooperation in both regions, including within the framework of projects supporting the “Belt and Road Initiative”. All this worries the United States, especially with (the American warning about the possibility of China using its accessibility to the Egyptian and Arab ports and the Suez Canal as a vital global shipping corridor, in order to improve its position in the Middle East and perhaps collect intelligence information about American interests, similar to Washington’s concerns about the activity of China in the Haifa port in Israel, and the extent of its impact on the American and Israeli national security), given that Israel is Washington’s first ally in the region().
Hence, the rapprochement of Egypt and the Arabs as a whole and their flirtation with the Chinese pole, will have its future effects, especially with the candidacy of China to be a great power with a prominent global role in light of the current international reality, just as all Arabs need to strengthen their negotiating position and their national entity in the face of the United States and the West. And Arab issues, on top of which (the Arab-Israeli conflict), Palestinian rights, and a number of thorny and unresolved issues between Palestinians and Israelis, such as: (building settlements and the return of Palestinian refugees), and others. Therefore, we find that the interests of the Chinese, Egyptian and Arab parties are necessary to preserve the rights of all parties in the face of American and Western hegemony, and the similar Egyptian-Arab-Chinese conditions, exposing them almost all to the same pressures and challenges.
Diversifying Egypt’s foreign policy and military options from China and the stance of the USA and Israel towards it
The current situation in the Middle East works mainly in favor of China and its economic priorities, as (Beijing is trying to gain influence in the Middle East region, while trying to distance as much as possible and avoid complex national rivalries and sectarian conflicts in the region). The United States of America spends huge sums of money to fight extremist groups and protect freedom of navigation in the Gulf countries and the maritime straits in the region, and here China directly benefits from the stability of oil prices. What China wants now is (maintaining this arrangement while gradually gaining the ability through its “Belt and Road Initiative” to pressure countries to side with it).
In a new development, the (Israeli National Security Studies Institute of Tel Aviv University) considered that the relations between Israel and the United States, after the entry of a new American administration led by (Joe Biden), are (under test), and this comes against the background of tensions with the new American administration relations with Israel, on specific foreign issues, and the significant erosion of Israel’s position as a consensus center between the two major parties in the United States, and “as the only democratic country in the Middle East”, as it has always promoted itself in the region().
With regard to the Egyptian-Chinese military cooperation and the extent of its impact on Washington and its ally (Israel), it is noted that this remarkable growth in economic relations between Egypt and China through China’s development projects in Egypt as part of its (Belt and Road initiative) has encouraged the leaderships in both countries towards more areas. A strategy, where it was discussed (the possibility of Cairo obtaining Chinese devices that were scheduled to operate within an American warning and jamming system, or China’s assistance to Egypt in providing it with advanced technology for Internet surveillance, especially monitoring extremist and terrorist elements on the Internet, and Egypt opened lines of communication several times with Beijing to establish a peaceful nuclear reactor in Alexandria, or to obtain Chinese arms, missiles and tanks deals), and other Chinese military equipment().
Egypt is considered (the most major military power in the Middle East and at the same time among the most important markets for Chinese weapons). According to the “China Power” project launched by the (Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington), all African countries, including Egypt (the first destination for Chinese weapons) in Africa, represent (42%) of the total Chinese military exports ().
– In the context of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, as the American researcher emphasized in her well-known book, entitled: “The Chinese Eurasian Century?: The Political and Strategic Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative”, which is written by the American academic (Nadij Rowland), as an expert in security and political affairs at the “National Bureau for Asian Research” – she is actually visited Egypt in 2019, as she mentioned in her book – and the American researcher (Roland) and other colleague of hers involved in the research conducted an interview that had already taken place in Cairo with a Chinese diplomat, at the Beijing embassy in Egypt, in January 2019 – it is important to remember and understand (According to the analysis of the researcher, “Nadig Roland”), that:
Promoting (regional development in Egypt, Africa, and the developing Arab countries, is not considered a way to encourage political openness, rather it is on the contrary, it is a means to strengthen the existing authoritarian regimes, arm them militarily and install them around China)… Hence, the Chinese intercontinental infrastructure will be helped through the (Belt and Road initiative) to prevent potential disruptions to the maritime supply in the event of conflict. Consolidating China’s strategic space will help counter the alleged U.S.-led efforts to contain the country’s emergence. Going beyond these tangible goals, the Belt and Road Initiative also seeks to (meet the broader regional ambition, to establish a European-Asian system centered on China), and with it – China’s military relations with various countries and regions of the world, such as the Middle East and Egypt, are imperative to protect China’s interests and defense. About it – and achieving security and political stability for the existing Chinese projects within the framework of its Belt and Road Initiative ().
China’s cooperation on the security and defense levels is expanding in the Arab world and Egypt, especially with the increase in its economic presence in those countries. (Chinese marine projects, especially projects for the production of Chinese submarine cables in the Arab world and the Middle East, constitute a key element in China’s focus on communication and information communication with the various countries of the region). For example, (the Chinese marine network company, Huawei, delivered the “Hannibal” cable linking Tunisia and Italy, in addition to another important cable linking Libya and Greece). This matter has generated concerns in the United States of America and the West about (the danger of using Chinese commercial investments for non-commercial and military intelligence activities in the countries of the Middle East), such as: (gathering intelligence information for China through “military maritime cooperation projects in the Mediterranean countries”, such as this. It seriously harms the security of Washington and its bases in the Arab Gulf and affects the American influence in the Middle East ().
We can recognize (the first actual Chinese military involvement in the Middle East in Libya after the Libyan revolution and other Arab Spring revolutions in 2011), when (the People’s Liberation Army Navy helped evacuate about 40,000 Chinese workers from Libya), before the organization of “NATO” began to launch air strikes. After that (joint Chinese-Russian military exercises) took place in 2015 in the Mediterranean region. In 2017, China opened (its first military base outside the country in the state of Djibouti, to protect its ships and economic interests from Somali piracy and to protect the straits and sea lanes of strategic importance to China in the Arabian Gulf and the Middle East). In January 2018, two warships from (the 27th Chinese Naval Guard Group visited a number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as a part of four-month Chinese military expeditionarycruise)for supporting the naval military cooperation with the Middle East and Mediterranean countries().
Here, we find that (Egypt’s tendency to military cooperation with China) has of course aroused (the objection and anger of Washington, which expressed its dissatisfaction with the Egyptian-Chinese relations, especially the military, on more than one occasion), especially – with an attempt to retrieve an old military incident that has a deep significance for the fear Washington from the growing military relationship of Cairo with Beijing – and this dangerous incident which the United States considers a threat to its national security and the security of its ally “Israel” in the region – is (Cairo’s permission for a Chinese delegation to visit an Egyptian base containing American F-16s, without Washington’s knowledge), according to what was mentioned in a secret letter from (the Washington embassy in Cairo and its military attaché) to the US Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) in 2009().
Hence, we find that based on the previous military and strategic analysis, we find that (the balance of power is the basic component of China’s vision towards a pragmatic and productive world order). And as part of the most important recommendations about Egypt’s new military policies during the era of (President El-Sisi), that China itself seeks to increase its influence and presence in the region at the expense of the US gradual withdrawal from it. Therefore, the importance of adopting and training on the “Chinese military model and the nature of the formation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army”. As a matter of weight and strategic consideration in the future, and here we can refer to a different analytical aspect, namely, “China is adopting a development model that seeks to integrate authoritarianism with economic growth, which is a model that has appeal to political regimes and leaders across the Middle East and North Africa region”. Therefore, The importance of (security, military, training, and the joint defense cooperation between the Egyptian regime and its Chinese counterpart to integrate the working mechanism of their political and economic systems, and the political legitimacy and popular acceptance that follow this kind of cooperation), given what the leaders and military in the region say, that the Arab masses are not yet qualified for the modes of liberal democracy. Western countries are based on the American and European style. Hence, military dealing with China is the best option for Egypt and all countries in the region under (the American administration led by “Joe Biden” and its interference in the affairs of Egypt and the region internally).
And here, foreign analysts and experts point out that “governments in Europe and the United States should watch carefully the phenomenon of China’s involvement in North Africa and the Middle East, and they should closely analyze all those Chinese military moves, relations and partnerships as well for the danger of this in reducing the US-European global influence”.
Bolstering political legitimacy at home in front of the Western intervention after the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood regime and the success of the 30th June Revolution in Egypt
Talking about China as a “model” that expresses the Egyptian regime’s desire to learn from its experience is to draw closer to it and close cooperation with it – especially on the Suez Canal – in the fields of technology, investments, trade, maritime transport and tourism. In addition, the comparison with China aims to (enhance the Egyptian public’s confidence in the positive results of the recovery and economic reform plan that President “El-Sisi” has been pursuing since November 2016 in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund). Hence, attachment to Chinese success aims to achieve a broad general consensus for firm Egyptian economic measures, which China also went through in its early developmental beginnings – on top of which is the reduction of government subsidies for fuel and food products – that will give the basis for their fruits in the medium – long term.
Raising the Chinese model to the level of a supreme ideal serves the Egyptian economic agenda on the other hand: it allows granting legitimacy to the current political model, with the emphasis it places on (the importance of achieving stability and not compromising Egypt’s security for any reason, combating terrorism and extremism, and confronting the hidden extremist agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group, moving towards development and construction), and other Egyptian economic institutional mechanisms, arrangements and procedures similar to the beginnings of the Chinese development model, focusing less on the issue of freedoms and democracy, and not allowing Washington and the West to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt in this regard. In a series of articles published by (Gamal Abdel-Gawad), the former president of the “Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies”, he emphasized in his analyzes that Egypt favors (the authoritarian Chinese model over the Indian democratic model, given the size of the security and political challenges that Egypt faces at that delicate stage), because the Chinese model has proven itself as a guarantee to maintain (the stability and security of the state with the achievement of high rates of accelerated economic development). Indeed, the legitimacy upon which the Egyptian regime is based of its citizens is based on (their confidence in its security and economic achievements, and not on the basis of establishing a parliamentary democracy according to the Western model)().
In addition, China is similar in its beginnings to Egypt, and with its nomination and the possibility of its transformation into a global superpower, this matter in the eyes of Egyptians is considered evidence of the importance for Egypt to adopt this Chinese model in order to gain progress, while emphasizing at the same time that (the Egyptian state is like its Chinese counterpart can design a national model that fits with their heritage, needs and values).
Promoting the issue of matching the Chinese model with Egypt also has regional effects, as we find that in recent years the question has been raised: Can the Chinese development model challenge, and even replace, the Western model that promotes free market values and liberal democracy concepts in developing countries?, Accordingly, the victory of the Egyptian President (El-Sisi) in the presidential elections in March 2018, and the success of the popular referendum on amending the Egyptian constitution in April 2019, all of this as sparked a dispute over (the appropriate model for Egypt and Arab countries in the era after the Arab Spring).
On the other hand, Egypt defended (its orientation towards the ideal Chinese model for it), which derives its inspiration from (the Chinese model, as a system that guarantees order, security, material well-being, national honor and international status), which is the same what the Egyptian regime seeks internally and externally similar to China.
Hence, it is noted that (the Chinese model) plays a media role about the efforts of those in charge of reforming the Egyptian economy to gain public legitimacy for Egypt’s successful economic steps, which are supposed to bear fruit in the medium and long term. And the media dependence on promoting the Chinese economic model, especially in its beginnings and the size of the stumbling and the crises it witnessed, in reference to the extent of its similarity with the beginnings of the Egyptian economic model, and what it targets in the future().
The Egyptian researcher concludes that, at this stage, it appears that Egypt is seeking to (integrate the elements of the Western development model and the Chinese development model), which resembles in some of its economic advantages the Western ones, but rejects its political advantages. Hence, President El-Sisi seeks to emphasize this strategy, especially during the coming period, considering that (the success of this strategy is a real key to Egypt’s economic prosperity and its salvation from its crises, similar to the Chinese model).
Collaboration between Egypt and China in counter-terrorism and combating extremism in the Middle East and its impact on the U.S and Israeli relationships
It is remarkable that China has succeeded diplomatically in its battle in the Middle East in order to (win over and neutralize all Muslim countries in the Middle East, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, regarding non-interference in China’s internal affairs, and what Washington and the West are raising against Beijing and its policies in the “Xinjiang”regionand the way of its treatment of the Uyghur Muslims in this province ((. For example, we find that in 2019, I commend the visit of Saudi Crown Prince (Mohammed bin Salman) to China, praising China’s domestic policies to “combat internal terrorism in the Chinese Muslim province of Xinjiang”. China also succeeded in “co-opting and neutralizing Turkey”, and the Turkish President “Ragab Tayyip Erdogan” on the issue of the “Chinese Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang Province”, just a few years ago, Turkey was a prominent defender of the Uyghur Muslims in China, and the Turkish promotion of them, considering them (a Turkish people with a community Big in Istanbul). But, there was a sudden change in the position of the Turkish President (Erdogan) and his silence towards China regarding the “Xinjiang” region, with some international indications that (the Turkish police have arrested hundreds of Uyghur refugees by order of China), with the severe crisis in the Turkish economy and other Muslim economies In the Middle East, everyone, including Egypt of course, has sacrificed to depend more deeply than ever on Chinese investment and trade, by announcing everyone to join the Chinese (Belt and Road) initiative.
On the (Israeli side), almost the same issue applies to “the official Tel Aviv institutions regarding their handling of the Uyghur Muslim file in Xinjiang”, with Israel resisting the increasing American pressure against it to limit its commercial dealings with China. We find here a severe Israeli challenge to Washington through (Tel Aviv’s insistence on subjecting the important strategic “Haifa Port” to an operating lease agreement with a Chinese state-owned company for a period of 25 years). The Israeli government rejected several American requests to inspect and inspect the Israeli facility leased by the Beijing government. China is also investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the Israeli technology sector, despite the previous (Trump administration) campaign, which lasted for a long time, to persuade Israel of “the necessity of China’s withdrawal from the important strategic projects in Tel Aviv” ().
On the Israeli side, Tel Aviv has exploited (the presence of more than five thousand Muslim Uighur citizens from the Chinese Xinjiang region who have been recruited into the “ISIS terrorist organization in Syria and Iraq” for the war inside Syria) through (Israel’s attempt to strengthen security relations, exchange intelligence and the anti-terrorism file, and the extremist jihadist organizations between Israel and China regarding its terrorist citizens in Syria). Israel has found in its relations with China an important element to improve its strategic environment in the midst of common borders hostile to it in the Arab world, and the relationship with China may certainly help it in one way or another in the event of tension in Israel’s relations. The country of Iran, which aspires to possess nuclear capabilities, is a close ally of Beijing.
Here, we find that the growth of bilateral relations between China and Israel has repercussions and adverse effects on Egypt and the Arab world, because (the concordance of vital interests between the two countries, especially those related to security arrangements, may contribute to Israel’s penetration of Arab national security, and the establishment of international and regional axes hostile to the Arabs). Tel Aviv’s future security and military strategy is based on (the psychological penetration of Egypt and the Arab world in terms of their strategic ally, “China”, which opposes and competes with Washington’s policy, because of China’s traditional and historical relations with the Arabs, as well as the strategic importance of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative as a location close to the belt Islamic), specifically “Pakistan and the Arabian Peninsula”, or what is currently known as (the Arab Gulf states)().
From the days of all previous Israeli prime ministers, such as: (Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, passing through Levi Eshkol, Yitzhak Rabin and Manachem Begin, to Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert), there was an eternal Israeli conviction and still says that (Israel is in danger in the shadow of the hostile Arab environment). Consequently, protecting and preserving the “Hebrew state”, financially and spiritually, and consolidating its future and perpetuating its existence, through consolidating its international alliances with great powers such as China, is an issue that occupies the forefront of the (Israeli security thinking)().
Here, Israeli strategic thought does not neglect the growing dangers of what the Israelis describe as “Islamic fundamentalism” or “religious terrorism” in the region and directing it against Israeli targets in the Israeli depth, specifically by “Hamas and Islamic Jihad”. The issue of the increase in the power and influence of political Islam in the region in general, especially with the entry of China as a powerful and influential actor to combat fundamentalist terrorism such as Israel’s goals in the region, with the recruitment of thousands of Chinese Uyghur Muslims in the terrorist organization of “ISIS” in Syria and the Middle East, and linking China with Israel with an agenda Security cooperation to fight what is known as “global terrorism”, which is able to penetrate into the Israeli and Chinese depths itself).
Hence, one of the main challenges that were on the list of topics that were discussed and analyzed within the Israeli decision-making circles is (partnership and cooperation with China and Egypt also on the issue of combating terrorism), discussion and evaluation of the impact of fundamentalist terrorism in Syria and the region on the (Israel – Egypt – China) interests and their national security ().
Here we conclude that the subject of (the new Chinese partnership with Egypt, Israel and some countries in the region for cooperation in the issue of combating terrorism and its extremist organizations and their extensions in the Middle East region has posed a challenge in itself against Washington), which (China considers its rising strategic enemy according to the American national security document issued by The Pentagon in 2018), therefore, (the partnership and security cooperation between Beijing and Tel Aviv on the issue of combating terrorism in the region, as a top priority for Washington to monitor the impact of this security, intelligence and military cooperation between China, Israel, Egypt and the region on its security and intelligence arrangements and its impact on the future of their alliances In the Middle East). Especially with the overlap between a set of political, economic, and strategic factors and internal considerations for such Chinese cooperation with Israel, Egypt and the region, and all of them stand against the terrorist fundamentalist penetration and its extension within their own countries.
Analysis of the future Implications of the Egyptian closeness with China on the U.S. and Israeli policies in the Middle East region
The United States of America has worked to “disengage gradually from the Middle East” during the past years, according to a carefully studied American strategic plan to devote itself to competing with China in Asia.
And here remains (the future fear of America and Israel together about the Sino-Iranian alliance and the attraction and partnership of Shiite organizations throughout the region to China for reasons similar to the attraction and Iranian justifications for its rapprochement with Beijing). They all see China as a strategic counterweight to America. In an important article by the Iraqi Minister of Electricity “Louai Al-Khatib” in October 2019, he acknowledged that “China is our primary choice as a long-term strategic partner”. A number of other paramilitary Shiite groups from Iraq and Syria (Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq) to Lebanon (Hezbollah) have repeatedly praised China and demanded an increase in Chinese investments in the region as a “rebuke and strong message to America in the region and the unwillingness of its presence and the need for its withdrawal in favor of China”.
Perhaps the most prominent (future impact on Israel and the United States of America regarding rapprochement with China), for here it mainly appears in Israel within the (Israeli neoliberal political school), as this school believes that (regional and international economic cooperation through intra-trade and joint economic projects, and mutual investments with Major powers other than Washington, such as China in the first place, create an environment conducive to cooperation and increase incentives for countries more than conflict, and this ultimately leads to the creation of a state of mutual dependence that can be exploited politically to make trade-offs and bargains in security, military and strategic files)().
Here, the Egyptian researcher analyzed the existence of (indirect effects on the Egyptian-Chinese rapprochement on Israel, the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the overall effect of this on the future of relations with Washington), where (such a rapprochement between China and the various countries of the Middle East is employed, and on Egypt headed it in the Israeli decision-making circles with the aim of dissolving the conflict instead of solving it radically through joint regional economic projects, and with the help of China’s capital, as one of the countries of the world center), and the final outcome remains (the Israeli expansion into new poles of global capital, especially China, and its expansion into Central Asia and the Caucasus), but this, of course, is what Washington rejects in its fight against such Chinese influence and penetration in Israel, the Middle East, the Asian continent itself or the Asian periphery of China’s environment, by forming (regional alliances against China’s influence in partnership with Washington), and this applies in cases, such as: (India, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines), and others.
Here, we find that one of the most important (foundations of the Israeli security theory is closer relations with the major and active countries in the world, and the creation of international and regional alliances that contribute to stabilizing their presence, strengthening their military capabilities, and subsequently helping them to encircle the Arab world). Therefore, we find that one of the most important military and strategic alliances that Israel has forged with the outside world was the alliance with China, which caused many turmoil and crises between the United States of America and its first ally in the region, which is Israel, due to (the fears of those in Washington about such a rapprochement between Beijing and Tel Aviv refer to the decline of the US role and influence in the region in favor of China), especially Washington’s regional allies, such as: (Egypt, the Arab Gulf states).
Results and conclusions of the study
Through a detailed analysis of all the previous points and elements in the research paper,the Egyptian researcher briefly concluded that the relations of Egypt and the countries of the Middle East region with China, through its initiative for the Belt and Road, and the joining of all those countries with relations with them (including Israel) are of concern to the United States of America, for the following reasons:
1.These countries view with the (new global trend in the east of China, which serves their economic ambitions and interests).
2.The importance of the Chinese initiative to Egypt and the region, and its project known internationally as (Belt and Road), and this project contains a (trade hub) that enhances China’s commercial presence in world markets through the (Egyptian Suez Canal axis), in a way that helps it to open new markets for it and access to the world Through the Egyptian side.
1.The importance of the (monetary axis) of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, which (seeks to make the currency of Chinese “Yuan” as a global currency), in a way that frees the world economy- Egypt and the Middle East as an important part of it – from relying on the US dollar, as a global payment currency.
2.In addition to the fact that the Chinese initiative also has (a geopolitical and strategic split, then a defensive military axis as we analyzed in our research paper to defend the interests and investments of China), so that it can (link Egypt with all countries of the world through which this road passes) with close relations through their common partnership With China.
3.The United States of America looks with concern as a result of (the increasing influence and military presence of China, and defense partnerships between Beijing, Cairo, Israel and various countries in the Middle East), as China is no longer limited in its cooperation with Egypt and the countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the economic and cultural fields only, but has gone beyond to it, and includes both (diplomatic and defense) fields as well.
4.Beijing’s desire (to preserve the security and stability of the Middle East and its investments) there, pushed the Egyptian-Chinese military relations more deeply, and Beijing increased the volume of its military and defense exports to Cairo and the region, which have become more diversified, such as: (weapons, military equipment, Internet surveillance and espionage devices to control terrorist elements, cells, their organizations and distributions) and others.
5.Moreover, China adopts (a development model that seeks to integrate political authoritarianism with patterns, policies, programs, and reforms of economic growth), in order to gain (acceptance and political legitimacy among its citizens and the masses), which is considered by many Egyptian and foreign analysts themselves as a more close model to Cairo politically, economically and in the media, during the period of (President El-Sisi) and it is a model that (promoted by a number of political regimes throughout the Middle East and North Africa).
Accordingly, it is likely that the growing role of China in Egypt, Israel, North Africa and the Middle East countries will have economic and geopolitical repercussions that are very influential in the countries of the region and around the world, especially in the context of (the US-China rivalry), and Egypt will maintain its influence, as well as From the other countries of the region, it is the (balance point) in Beijing’s relations with Washington and pushing it towards (pluralism and distance from hegemony and unilateralism). Its inevitable result becomes that China’s relations with the United States in the framework of (searching for areas of influence and securing interests) either lead to more (cooperation or Conflict) between the two parties, and the most important thing in my final analysis is (the extent of each party’s ability to attract others in a good framework of competition and pluralism, far from the idea of unilateral hegemony) in consideration of everyone’s interests.
() Zhang, Feng. (March 2014). “Rethinking China’s Grand Strategy: Beijing’s Evolving National Interests and Strategic Ideas in the Reform Era”, Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. (49), No. (3), China, P.P.337- 339. 张丰 （2014年3月）。 “对中国的大战略的反思：改革时代北京不断发展的国家利益和战略思想”，《国际政治学报》，第1期。 （49），第（3），中国，第337-339页。
) ) Shi, Yinhong. (2001). “The Rising China: Essential Disposition, Secular Grand Strategy, and Current Prime Problems”, China Policy Institute, China. 石银宏 （2001）。 “崛起的中国：基本配置，长期大战略和当前的主要问题”，中国政策研究所，中国。Available at: http://www.spfusa.org/Program/av2001/feb1202.pdf (Accessed December 12, 2018)
) ( Dai, Bingguo. (December 6, 2011). “We Must Stick to the Path of Peaceful Development”, People’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beijing, China. 戴秉国 （2011年12月6日）。 “我们必须坚持和平发展的道路”，中国人民外交部，中国北京。Retrieved From: http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/topics/cpop/t777704.htm# (Accessed April 4, 2017). See also: Official Statement: “China’s Peaceful Development”, Information Office of the State Council, China. 官方声明：“中国的和平发展”，中国国务院新闻办公室。
( (Shoukry, Sameh (Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs). (January 26, 2021). A speech on: “Egypt’s foreign agenda and its relations with the major powers”, A meeting with members of the new Egyptian Parliament, Egyptian People’s Assembly, Egypt.
) ( Zhang, Chun. (2018). “The Sino-African Relationship: Toward a New Strategic Partnership”, China Quarterly Of International Strategic Studies, Shanghai Institute For International Studies, World Century Publishing, China. 张春 （2018）。 “中非关系：建立新的战略伙伴关系”，中国国际战略研究季刊，Shanghai国际问题研究所，世界世纪出版社，中国。
() Chen, Juan. (2018). “Strategic Synergy between Egypt “Vision 2030” and China’s
“Belt and Road” Initiative”, Outlines of Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, Law, Vol.(11), No. (5), Beijing, P.P.219-235. 陈娟 （2018）。 “埃及“2030年愿景”与中国“一带一路”倡议之间的战略协同作用”，《全球转型纲要：政治，经济学，法律》，第（11）卷，第（5）期，北京，第219-235页。
( ( Zeng, Zhihua. (2016). “How Do Special Economic Zones and Industrial Clusters Drive China’s Rapid Development”, In: Zhihua, Zeng, D (eds.). Building Engines for Growth and Competitiveness in China: Experience with Special Economic Zones and industrial Clusters, People’s Library Press, China. 曾志华 （2016）。 “经济特区和产业集群如何推动中国的快速发展”，载于：曾志华（主编）。 为中国的增长和竞争力打造引擎：在经济特区和产业集群中的经验，中国人民图书馆出版社，中国。
) ( Sullivan, Jake (National Security Adviser in the Administration of President “Joe Biden”). (January 29, 2021) Lecture on: “The Chinese belief that their model is more successful than the American model, and this is what they are promoting around the world”, Washington Institute of Peace, United States of America.
)) Pompeo, Mike (Former US Secretary of State under the Trump administration). (May 13, 2020). “The first foreign visit of” Mike Pompeo “after the outbreak of the new Corona virus crisis to Israel”, In response to: “The concern of the United States about the Chinese – Israeli rapprochement” that exposes the Israelis to danger”,Tel Aviv, Israel.
) ( Freeman, Will. (March 2021). “The Evolving Relationship between China, the EU and the USA: A New Global Order?”, Foreign Policy Magazine, Oxford University, USA.
) ( Wang, Jisi. (February 2012). “China’s Search for a Grand Strategy”, Chinese Journal of International Politics, Vol. (90), No. (2), China, P.P.68-79. 王吉思 （2012年2月）。 “中国寻求大战略”，《中国国际政治杂志》，第1期。 （90），第（2），中国，第68-79页。
)( Zhang. (2015). “The Rise of Chinese Exceptionalism in International Relations”, Chinese Journal of International Relations, Vol. (19), No. (2), Beijing, P.P.307- 315. 张 （2015）。 “中国例外论在国际关系中的兴起”，《中国国际关系》，第一卷。 （19），第（2）号，北京，第307-315页。
) ( Liu, Baolai. (October 10, 2018) “What Are the Three Major Challenges Facing Re-elected Egyptian President “El-Sisi”?, Xinhua News Agency, China. 刘宝来（2018年10月10日）“什么是三大挑战面对再次当选埃及总统‘厄尔尼诺思思’？新华社，中国。 网址：Available at: http://www.cssn.cn/gj/gj_hqxx/201804/t20180404_3897984.shtml (Accessed May 15, 2020) (in Chinese)
) ( Taylor, Adam & Morris, Loveday. (March 26, 2019). “To Israel, Trump’s Golan Heights decision is a no-brainer: It says occupying territory gained in a defensive war is justifiable”, The Washington Post, USA.
) ( Chen, Dingding. (February 8, 2019). “The outside world can shape how China interacts with the international order”, A ChinaFile Conversation, Jinan University, China. 陈定鼎 （2019年2月8日）。 “外部世界可以影响中国与国际秩序的互动方式”，暨南大学中国档案学院，中国。
( ( Qi, Shang & Chenqingqing. (2013). “The Chinese strategy to engage in the Middle East will inevitably harm the Chinese relations with Russia and America and lead China to invest in“ dangerous areas”, Global Times, China. 齐商和陈庆清。 （2013）。 中国的《中东战略》将不可避免地损害中国与俄罗斯和美国的关系，并导致中国投资于“危险地区”，《环球时报》，中国。
) ( Harel, Amos. (February 1, 2021). “Israel Rejected U.S. Inspection of Haifa Port Over Fear of Chinese Surveillance”, Israel News, Haartez Newspaper, Israel. Available at: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.HIGHLIGHT-u-s-offered-to-inspect-israel-s-haifa-port-due-to-china-s-involvement-1.9497835 (Accessed March 5, 2021)
) ( Shavit, Eldad. (November 30, 2020). “The Strategic Implications of Joe Biden’s Victory”, INSS Conference Summary, The Israeli National Security Studies Institute (INNS), Tel Aviv University, Israel. Available at: https://www.inss.org.il/publication/biden-and-the-middle-east/ (Accessed March 5, 2021)
) ( Huaxia. (December 5, 2018). “Spotlight: China’s military products demonstrate strong presence at Egypt’s 1st defense expo”, Xinhua News Agency, China. 华夏 （2018年12月5日）。 “聚焦：中国的军事产品在埃及的第一届国防博览会上展现出强大的实力”，中国新华社。
) ( China Power Project. (April 26, 2018). “How dominant is China in the global arms trade?”, Center for Strategic and International Studies, SIPRI Arms Transfers Database, 2018, Arms Trade Statistics for Non-State Actors, USA. Available at: https://chinapower.csis.org/china-global-arms-trade/ (Accessed March 8, 2021)
) ( Rolland, Nadège. (May 23, 2017). “China’s Eurasian Century?: Political and Strategic Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative”, The National Bureau of Asian Research, NBR Books, Washington, D.C, USA. Retrieved From: https://www.nbr.org/publication/chinas-eurasian-century-political-and-strategic-implications-of-the-belt-and-road-initiative/ (Accessed March 8, 2021)
) ( Ekman, Alice. (November 1, 2016). “China’s regional forum diplomacy”, European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), USA. Retrieved From: https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Alert_44_China_diplomacy.pdf (Accessed March 8, 2021)
( ( The visits of guided-missile destroyer “Haikou” and the guided-missile frigate “Yueyang”. (January 9, 2018). “Chinese naval ships visit Algeria”, China Military Online, Beijing. 导弹巡洋舰“海口”号和导弹巡洋舰“岳阳”号的访问。 （2018年1月9日）。 “中国军舰访问阿尔及利亚”，中国军事在线，北京。 Available at: http:// chinamil.com.cn/view/2018-01/09/content_7901306.htm (Accessed March 8, 2021)
(( CRS Reports: Reports of The Congressional Research Service (CRS). (November 23, 2020). “Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy”, The Congressional Research Service (CRS), CRS’s institution, Library of Congress, USA.
) ( Winter, Ofir & Ella, Doron. (August 21, 2019). “The Chinese Development Model: A Cure for Egyptian Woes?”, INSS Insight, No. (1203), The Israeli National Security Studies Institute (INNS), Tel Aviv University, Israel.
) ( Teng, Fred. (February 25, 2014). “Egypt and China: the Difference is Leadership and Economic Results”, China-US Focus Journal, the China-United States Exchange Foundation, USA.
) ( Zha, Daojiong. (February 8, 2019). “Where Is China’s Foreign Policy Headed?“, A ChinaFile Conversation, the School of International Studies, Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development, Peking University, China. 查道炯 （2019年2月8日）。 北京大学南南合作与发展研究所国际研究学院，中国档案对话，“中国的外交政策走向何方？”。
) ( Guggenheim, B. Lana. (December 4, 2020). “Israel’s silence about the Uighur genocide is a shanda”, The National Review, South EU Summit, Washington Times, Jewcy, New Voices Magazine & the Forward, USA.
() Anbar, Ephraim. (2015). Israeli Concord with the Rising Global Powers, Lexington Books, P.P.8-9, UK.
() Burton, Guy. (February 26, 2018). Rising Powers and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Durham University Press, UK.
() Vucsanovic, Vuc. (February 2020). “Axis of Convenience?: Israel and China in a multipolar world”, LSE Ideas Strategic Update, LSE’s foreign policy Think Tank, the London School of Economics, UK.
) ( Joharchi, Sahra. (April, 2016). PhD Thesis: “A Tacit Alliance: The Political Economy of Iranian-Chinese Relations”, A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Nottingham Trent University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy,Nottingham Trent University, UK.
Making Sense of Iran’s De-escalation with Saudi Arabia
On March 10, 2023, Iran and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement to resume diplomatic ties which had been severed for the last seven years triggered by the killing of a prominent Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by the latter. The agreement has been gaining special attention all over the world since two powers competing to gain strategic dominance in West Asia have agreed to come to terms, and even more so because of the agreement being brokered by a third country China which has gotten a step closer to deepening its presence in the region. However, this article intends to narrowly focus on the plausible reasons that led the Iranian regime to agree to reach this agreement.
Cementing Severed Diplomatic Ties
Following the visit of President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi to Beijing, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani visited Beijing on March 6, 2023, and had four days of intense discussions with his counterpart Saudi Arabia’s national security adviser Musaid Al Aiban to settle issues between their countries. This agreement, though as unusual an event it may be, is not very surprising after all. In his first speech after winning the elections, the incumbent President of Iran, Ibrahim Raisi, stated that he is willing to restart diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and improve trade with neighbours under the policy of ‘Neighbourliness’.
However, it is not unusual in Iranian politics to say one something about its foreign policy approach without been meaning to do it. Moreover, the first round of talks started back in Hassan Rouhani’s term. Therefore, it would be unwise to give more credit than necessary to President Raisi’s policy of ‘Neighbourliness’. It is also important to notice that before Beijing came into the picture, Oman and Iraq were mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia and they had had five round of talks in Baghdad from 2021 to 2022 with no concrete result. The fast-changing regional dynamics and Iran’s internal situation have arguably played a key role in instrumentalising the agreement in March 2023.
Countering Regional Grouping
Given the fact that it is running proxy wars and supporting rebel groups in the region, Iran does not have many trusted allies in the region. There is an extent to which it can have sour relations with countries particularly in the neighbourhood since it may give rise to a regional grouping of countries against Iran. Post the signing of Abraham Accord, countries like Bahrain and UAE have already begun the process of normalising relations with Israel. Furthermore, backchannel talks have already been going between Saudi Arabia and Israel facilitated by the USA. Therefore, de-escalation with Saudi Arabia was in favour of Iran in the present especially because it would help undercut Israel’s efforts to isolate Iran in the region. In the light of these developments, Iran’s willingness to ease its years long rivalry with Saudi Arabia can also be seen as a policy of strategic hedging where Iran prepares for the worst by balancing Saudi Arabia by maintaining a strong military presence in the region but does not close itself from gaining whatever it can through constructive engagement.
Countering Internal Distress
Post the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman in September 2022 in the custody of the Morality Police (Gasht-e Irshad), the anti-hijab protests raised some serious concerns for the regime. Although the protests have waned in recent weeks due to the brutal crackdown by the clerical regime, but even they have entirely died down. However, the protests that erupted were against the draconian hijab law but were not limited to it. They were also in response to rising inflation, high unemployment, corruption, lack of opportunities due to country’s isolation among others.
The anti-hijab protest draws inspiration from a series of protests which have marked the history of the clerical regime. Many Iranians, particularly the younger population, have been raising their voice against the use of country’s wealth to fund proxy wars in the region rather than using it for their own welfare. The slogan “Neither for Gaza nor for Lebanon; my soul is sacrificed for Iran” can be heard in every protest since the Green Movement of 2009. The ruling dispensation had not witnessed such a big protest since 2009. This may have brought to light the deep-seated unsatisfaction among the population which cannot go unaddressed for long. But to alleviate the economic hardships of its citizens, the government must have money in its disposal to fix the economy and to generate employment.
Saudi Arabia: A Potential Investor
Keeping in mind the sanctions put in place by the USA, the Iranian regime has been having a hard time getting investment into the country. If this agreement works out, the Iranians will be able to reduce their expenditure that they have been bearing for years for fighting proxy wars in the region. The Saudis are supporting the Yemeni government recognised by the United Nations whereas the Iranians are backing the Houthi rebels. By coming to an agreement with the Saudis about the ongoing conflict in Yemen, Iranians can save a lot of money and resources which can be diverted to strengthen their internal situation in the country. Moreover, Iran may also have a potential investor on their table.
Under the crown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman, the diversification project, revolving around the aspirational document ‘Vision 2030’ has gained a momentum in order to decrease their reliance on oil as a means of state revenue. Therefore, the Saudis are looking forward for different ventures to invest. Given the low wage labour cost due to US sanctions, Iran could be a favourable investing site for the Saudis. In light of recent discovery of large reserves of lithium in Iran, 10 percent of the world’s total, rapprochement with Saudi may help in securing foreign investment and technology since energy and infrastructure costs are high for Iran to do it on its own and due to sanctions, Iran is unlikely to get big investors other than China and Russia. However, trade and tanks seldom go together. For getting Saudi Arabia to invest in Iran, de-escalation had to happen before in Yemen.
Through this agreement, the Iranian regime aims to strengthen its regional security through engaging with a strong neighbour to prevent a regional grouping against itself. Moreover, the regime is also trying to win the confidence of its aggrieved citizens by showcasing itself as responsible and pragmatic. The official statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is that the agreement shows “determination of Iranian government to protect the interest of the Iranian people and Muslim, friendly and neighbouring countries” which was hailed by Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the government backed news channel in Iran. Some other conservative media outlets focused more on how this agreement signals the defeat of USA and Israel. As much as the Iranian regime may hail it in the media, one must be cautious while overestimating the outcomes of the agreement. Through supporting Houthis in Yemen, Iran has been able to build significant influence in the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula and it looks uncertain if it would abandon it. The agreement may reduce tension in the region; however, it is unlikely to settle profound differences between them in the foreseeable future.
Iran-Saudi Deal: Prospects for the Region
Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies within two months, according to both Iranian and Saudi state media. This marks a significant development as tensions between the two regional rivals had been high for years, with Riyadh breaking off ties with Tehran in 2016 after protesters invaded Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran following the execution of a prominent Shia Muslim scholar. Despite supporting rival sides in several conflict zones across the Middle East, including in Yemen, where the Houthi rebels are backed by Tehran and Riyadh leads a military coalition supporting the government, both sides have recently sought to improve ties.
The joint statement from Saudi Arabia and Iran also said the two countries had agreed to respect state sovereignty and not interfere in each other’s internal affairs, and to activate a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001. The announcement came on the day President Xi Jinping clinched a third term as China’s president amid a host of challenges. The presence of Beijing’s most senior diplomat, Wang Yi, at the talks signalled China’s interest in bolstering stability and peace in the region, as well as its own legitimacy.
The agreement has been welcomed in Iran, where senior officials have praised it as a step towards reducing tensions and bolstering regional security. However, some conservative media outlets have focused on how the deal signals a “defeat” for the United States and Israel. The US has cautiously welcomed the move, saying that it supports any efforts to help end the war in Yemen and de-escalate tensions in the Middle East region. Iraq and Oman, who had previously helped mediate the talks, greeted the rapprochement with optimism.
Improved relations between Tehran and Riyadh could have an effect on politics across the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon and Syria, where the two countries are on rival sides. This deal could lead to the creation of a better security situation in the region, and political analysts note that reducing tensions in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq can still entail wide-ranging interests for both sides. However, achieving success will require both countries to begin continuous and long-term efforts to try reliable ways that would guarantee mutual interests. While the development of re-establishing diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia is considered a significant one for the region, it is important to note that ending the eight-year war in Yemen is still considered by some to be the most important eventual outcome of the agreement.
This will be a difficult goal to achieve, given the high level of distrust and the intensity of geopolitical rivalries, which may render the trend of reducing tensions reversible. Conservative economic dealings with Iran are expected from Saudi Arabia, as it does not want to be exposed to US sanctions, and normalisation does not necessarily mean that the two sides trust each other.
The resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia at both the national and international level is likely to have a significant impact. While it could reduce tensions and lead to improved cooperation in areas such as trade, security, and energy, there are still deep-seated issues that may not be easily resolved. Both countries have supported opposing sides in conflicts throughout the Middle East, and there are religious and geopolitical tensions at play.
Furthermore, the resumption of diplomatic relations may be viewed differently by different segments of society in both countries. At the international level, the agreement could potentially reduce tensions, contribute to stability and peace, and increase China’s influence in the region. It may also have implications for other countries with interests in the Middle East, including the United States and Russia. Ultimately, the impact of the resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia will depend on the actions of both countries going forward and whether they can work towards lasting peace and stability in the region. There is another issue which is vital for the Middle East.
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited Iran and met with high-level officials to discuss enhanced cooperation and resolution of outstanding safeguards issues. Both parties agreed to collaborate, address issues related to three locations, and allow for voluntary verification and monitoring activities. Modalities for these activities will be agreed upon in a technical meeting in Tehran, and positive engagements could lead to wider agreements among state parties. This agreement can further help in reducing the tension on the Iran nuclear deal. In conclusion, it is a good deal which can have a long lasting impact on the peace security in the Middle East.
Arab plan for Syria puts US and Europe in a bind
A push by Arab allies of the United States to bring Syria in from the cold highlights the limits of a Chinese-mediated rapprochement between the Middle East’s archrivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The effort spearheaded by the United Arab Emirates, and supported by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, demonstrates that the expected restoration of diplomatic relations between the kingdom and the Islamic republic has done nothing to reduce geopolitical jockeying and rebuild trust.
At best, the Chinese-mediated agreement establishes guardrails to prevent regional rivalries from spinning out of control, a principle of Chinese policy towards the Middle East.
The Saudi-Iran agreement also is an exercise in regime survival.
It potentially allows the two countries to pursue their economic goals unfettered by regional tensions.
For Saudi Arabia, that means diversification and restructuring of the kingdom’s economy, while Iran seeks to offset the impact of harsh US sanctions.
The goal of countering Iran in Syria is upfront in the Arab proposal for returning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the Arab and international fold.
If accepted by Syria, the United States, and Europe, it would initiate a political process that could produce a less sympathetic Syrian government to Iran.
It would also establish an Arab military presence in Syria designed to prevent Iran from extending its influence under the guise of securing the return of refugees.
For Mr. Al-Assad, the carrot is tens of billions of dollars needed to rebuild his war-ravaged country and alleviate the humanitarian fallout of last month’s devastating earthquakes in northern Syria.
Hampered by sanctions, Mr. Al-Assad’s Russian and Iranian backers don’t have the economic or political wherewithal to foot the bill.
Nevertheless, potential Gulf investment is likely to encounter obstacles. The US sanctions that hamper Russia and Iran, also erect barriers for Saudi Arabia and the UAE that will limit the degree to which they want to be seen as sanctions busters.
Moreover, countering Iranian influence in Syria would have to go beyond trade and investment in physical reconstruction. Iran has over the years garnered substantial soft power by focusing on embedding itself in Syrian culture and education, providing social services, and religious proselytization.
Meanwhile, China has made clear that its interests are commercial and further limited to aspects of Syrian reconstruction that serve its geopolitical and geoeconomic goals.
Mr. Al-Assad was in Moscow this week to discuss trade and humanitarian aid.
The Syrian president’s rejection of a Russian request that he meets his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, suggests that Mr. Al-Assad will be equally opposed to key elements of the Arab proposal.
The Syrian president said he would only meet Mr. Erdogan once Turkey withdraws its troops from rebel-held areas of northern Syria.
Even so, the Arab push potentially offers the United States and Europe the ability to strike a reasonable balance between their lofty moral, ethical, and human rights principles and the less savory contingencies of realpolitik.
The terms of the Arab proposal to allow Syria back into the international fold after a decade of brutal civil war that killed some 600,000 people, displaced millions more, and significantly enhanced Iran’s regional footprint appears to take that into account.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the proposal offers something for everyone but also contains elements that are likely to be difficult to swallow for various parties.
While Mr. Al-Assad rejects the principle of political reform and the presence of more foreign troops on Syrian territory, legitimizing the regime of a man accused of war crimes, including using chemical weapons against civilians, is a hard pill to swallow for the United States and Europe.
However, it is easy to claim the moral high ground on the backs of thousands trying to pick up the pieces in the wake of the earthquakes.
The same is true for the plight of the millions of refugees from the war whose presence in Turkey and elsewhere is increasingly precarious because of mounting anti-migrant sentiment.
That is not to say that Mr. Al-Assad should go scot-free.
Nonetheless, the failure to defeat the Syrian regime, after 12 years in which it brutally prosecuted a war with the backing of Russia and Iran, suggests the time has come to think out of the box.
The alternative is maintaining a status quo that can claim the moral high ground but holds out no prospect of change or alleviation of the plight of millions of innocent people.
To be sure, morality is not a concern of Arab regimes seeking to bring Mr. Al-Assad in from the cold. However, countering Iran and managing regional conflicts to prevent them from spinning out of control is.
Even so, the Arab proposition potentially opens a way out of a quagmire.
It would enhance the leverage of the United States and Europe to ensure that political reform is the cornerstone of Mr. Al-Assad’s engagement with elements of the Syrian opposition.
In other words, rather than rejecting any solution that does not involve Mr. Al-Assad’s removal from power, the United States and Europe could lift sanctions contingent on agreement and implementation of reforms.
Similarly, the US and Europe could make sanctions relief contingent on a safe, uninhibited, and orderly return of refugees.
However, there would be questions about the ability and willingness of Arab forces loyal to autocratic regimes to safeguard that process impartially.
US and European engagement with Arab proponents of dealing with Mr. Al-Assad would potentially also give them a seat on a train that has already left the station despite their objections.
Ali Shamkani, the Iranian national security official who negotiated the deal with Saudi Arabia in Beijing, was in the UAE this week to meet President Mohammed bin Zayed. There is little doubt that Syria was on the two men’s agenda.
Mr. Al-Assad met this weekend in Abu Dhabi with Mr. Bin Zayed for the second time in a year and traveled to Oman for talks with Sultan Haitham bin Tariq last month.
The Jordanian and Egyptian foreign ministers recently trekked separately to Damascus for the first time since the civil war in Syria erupted in 2011.
Perhaps, the most fundamental obstacle to the Arab proposition is not the fact that Syria, the United States, and Europe would have to swallow bitter pills.
The prime obstacle is likely to be the Arab proponents of the plan. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan are unlikely to stick to their guns in presenting the plan as a package.
Having taken the lead in cozying up to Mr. Al-Assad, the UAE has since last year demonstrated that it is willing to coax the Syrian leader to back away from Iran at whatever cost to prospects for reform or alleviation of the plight of his victims.
Saudi Arabia, like Qatar and several other Arab countries, initially opposed reconciliation but the kingdom has since embraced the notion of rehabilitation of Mr. Al-Assad.
In early March, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud noted “that there is a consensus building in the Arab world, that the status quo is not tenable. And that means we have to find a way to move beyond that status quo.”
Mr, Al-Saud insisted, however, that it was “too early” to discuss Syria’s return to the Arab League that groups the Middle East’s 22 Arab states. The League suspended Syrian membership in 2011 because of Mr. Al-Assad’s prosecution of the civil war.
Even so, this puts the ball in the US and European courts.
Much of the Arab proposition is about enticing the United States and Europe to be more accommodating and more inclined to a conditioned lifting of sanctions.
The problem is that Mr. Al-Assad is likely to call the Arab states’ bluff in the knowledge that Iran is his trump card.
A speedy in principle US and European embrace of the Arab proposition would hold Emirati and Saudi feet to the fire and put Mr. Al-Assad on the back foot.
Erosion of Russia’s Hegemonic Stability in the South Caucasus and Transition to Risky Instability
In early nineteenth century, following the wars with Persian and Ottoman empires, Russia completed the invasion of the South Caucasus....
The Taliban’s Loss of Popular Support in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is currently facing an unprecedented crisis due to the Taliban’s takeover of the country in August 2021. Despite initially...
International Cooperation to Address Economic Inequality and Promote Sustainable Development
Economic inequality is a pervasive issue that has plagued societies across the world for centuries. The gap between the rich...
It’s high time to step up the protection of Europe’s critical maritime infrastructure
After the truth about the Nord Stream pipeline explosion came to light, the whole world knows that the United States...
Seeing Japan – Indonesia Collaboration in Energy Transition Cooperation
Holding the G7 presidency, Japan is increasingly active in establishing relations with several countries. One of them is Indonesia. The...
Women’s mobility must be a key focus in urban policy
Historically, cities across the world have been designed to fit the needs of able-bodied men, or a neutral, often male,...
Lemon peel, flax fibres hold keys to eco-friendly car parts
Natural materials including farm waste can make autos and other industries more sustainable, less toxic By HELEN MASSY-BERESFORD Think of the...
Eastern Europe4 days ago
Untouchable U.S. troops in Lithuania
Science & Technology3 days ago
New discoveries and advances ranging from the BRICS countries to Israel, Japan and South Korea
Eastern Europe4 days ago
The Ukraine War and Great Power Competition
Economy3 days ago
Azerbaijan’s Favorable Climate for Foreign Investments
Economy4 days ago
Blue Economy and its potential in Pakistan
Europe3 days ago
Europe’s relations with Africa and Asia are on the brink of collapse, and Russia is benefiting
Economy3 days ago
Vietnam’s macroeconomic policy and post COVID recovery
Finance4 days ago
Pre-Hung & Slab Doors: Comparison Guide