The main problems to the expansion of Sino-Russian cooperation with the Middle East

The most prominent problems of expanding Sino-Russian cooperation in the Middle East are due to the US policy of hegemony in the region, and they are considered a real challenge to Washington. And here we can (interpret the ultimate goal behind the Russian and later Chinese intervention in Syria at the heart of the world order headed by the United States of America and the call for a multipolar world and international parties). Therefore, the Russian and Chinese alliance and coordination across the region have the same goal, which is (undermining the position of the United States of America and influencing its areas of influence to work a strategic balance due to the American intervention in the heart of the Chinese and Russian areas of influence together, as well as strengthening Moscow’s position in the region by deterring the West and maintaining low intensity conflict).

   Also, the Chinese-Russian support for the Iranian side and the signing of the 25-year Sino-Iranian strategic agreement in March 2021 have led to (increasing Gulf fears about Chinese support for Iran), which Washington is trying to exploit to its advantage. Also, the Chinese-Russian commitments towards Syrian President “Bashar Al-Assad”, and his support in the Security Council by using the veto or veto power in the face of the United States of America, may have raised some fears in the region.  Also, (the Israeli-Gulf peace agreements), especially with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, then Morocco and others, is one of the most important fears of China and Russia about the increasing American influence in the Arab Gulf states through its Israeli ally, which threatens their interests.  This is justified, given (my personal and academic follow-up and analysis of the US Secretary of Energy’s call for a partnership between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel in the energy and natural gas sector to counter Russian influence and supremacy in it). Finally, through my careful follow-up of the situation, the recent agreement between Israel and the UAE to establish a (free trade zone between them), it would increase the American presence economically to support the interests of its Israeli ally in the region.

  The most important thing here remains (the possibility of violence erupting in Syria after the completion of the American withdrawal from it, as well as the refusal of the majority of Syrian refugees to return to Syria while “Bashar al-Assad” remains in power, fearing for their safety), these challenges and problems will inevitably affect Chinese and Russian interests in Syria.

  The possibility problem of a war between Israel and Iran in Syria, and the US policy swinging between the decision to stay in Syria or continue working with the “Syrian Democratic Forces”, which controls the vast majority of oil and gas reserves and vital infrastructure in Syria, remains one of  The most prominent crises that China and Russia may face in the ports of (Lattakia and Tartus) on the Mediterranean, affect Russia’s security and strategic interests and place huge burdens on it, given the presence of a Russian naval base inside Syria.

   On the other hand, both China and Russia face real challenges related to the policy of American alliances and polarization to dominate the Middle East and their direct and immediate areas of influence, especially after the United States of America signed the “new Aukus nuclear defense agreement” with Australia and Britain, as well as the “Quad alliance” with India, Japan and Australia, which poses a challenge to the Chinese side on the part of the United States of America, as China is distracting between its interests in the Middle East and defending its investments in accordance with the Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” or defending its areas of direct influence in the South China Sea, where Beijing is trying to prevent any possible future closure of its access to international shipping and shipping lanes by placing military and naval assets on its artificial islands off its southwest coast.

   Here, we find that the (dispersal of Chinese power between defending its interests in the Middle East and its Belt and Road initiative, or concentrating its power in the Asian region in the face of American alliances and polarization), is the major problem for China, especially with the United States of America conducting continuous operations with the aim of ensuring freedom of navigation.  In the disputed waters between China and neighboring regional areas, in addition to the permanent US provocation of China’s areas of influence, obstruction of Chinese military construction to defend its direct interests, and the formation of US alliances in Southeast Asia to confront China.

  Here, the United States of America seeks to “reduce the Chinese presence in the important sea straits and sensitive strategic shipping lanes in the Middle East, such as the Strait of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandab, with the help of its Iranian ally, by following another American naval strategy against and against China with the aim of American naval support for its allies and competitors of China in the Western Pacific Ocean and the Taiwan Strait”. However, the ability of the Russians to display a large naval force in these areas remains limited. The Russians already have a “naval base in Vladivostok”, but Japan and US air power are preventing them from having ready access to the Pacific. While a “blockade of Vladivostok” is out of the question, any military action would have to take into account the worst-case scenario, and Vladivostok could easily become a trap for the Russian fleet.

  According to his can, the policy of China and Russia to combine (Chinese economic strength and Russian political boldness in the Middle East), might have helped the two countries better bear US pressures and challenges, especially in the region.

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit