Updated: 09 Nov 2021 23:26 IST
Dubai [UAE], Nov. 9 (ANI): China’s influence has increased significantly in Middle Eastern countries in recent years, a shift attributed to the shift in the US government’s policy to withdraw from the region.
China intervened to fill the US’s place in the Middle East, which began with the policy shift under Barack Obama and accelerated under the Donald Trump administration. It created a vacuum that, in the interest of the region, had to be filed by some countries, according to Al Arabiya Post.
“China has established extensive strategic partnerships with Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as strategic partnerships with Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Turkey,” said Jonathan Fulton, assistant professor of political science at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi.
Coinciding with the expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), this wave of diplomatic activity indicates that Chinese leaders increasingly view the Middle East as important to their political and strategic goals, Fulton said.
China’s Belt and BRI have saddled dozens of low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) with “hidden debt” totaling $385 billion, according to new research published this year.
The findings are part of a report published by AidData, an international development research lab based at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. According to this report, China has used debt instead of aid to gain a dominant position in the international development finance market.
The Middle East publication further argued that China’s growing influence and the US approach to withdrawal could pose a threat to the countries of the Middle East and that the region could fall into China’s debt trap.
“Increasing investment by China will lead to the region becoming increasingly dependent on China for economic development and that can be used by China to its advantage by slowly interfering in the region’s policies and other decisions that are in its best interest. “
The editorial in the Post further argued that it is important for the US to rethink its policy of withdrawing from the Middle East and slowly moving back into the region and not letting China dominate over it.
“China’s increasing influence in the Middle East poses a threat to the US position and some think tanks believe it also jeopardizes US national security interests.” (ANI)