China and changing Middle East politics

By Mohsen Shariatinia and Ehsan Razani
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 11, 2015
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The military response has only radicalized regional politics. For sure, China can become one of the terrorist targets. The rise of militancy in the Middle East, has contributed to more problems for this country.

As one of the most successful developing nations and a country that is going to be one of the world's biggest cross-border investors whose companies will be leading players in global markets, China can play a crucial role in containing terrorism.

Initiatives such as the "Belt and Road" and the "Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank" as well as China's direct investments in Middle Eastern countries can help in weakening the economic roots of extremism in the region.

The weakening of state's role and the collapse of the regional order can be considered as the other source of change in Middle East geopolitics. Many regional and extra-regional actors have tried to weaken the role of central governments in the region.

However, the truth is that, such moves have resulted in transition of power from authoritarian regimes to some Salafi extremist groups like ISIS rather than to gentle liberal democracies. China, however, has constantly supported central governments in the Middle East while has opposed interventionism in all of its forms. Supporting the role of states could help China to play a more constructive role in the region.

In sum, the change in the U.S. role, the growth of terrorist networks, and the weakening of state's role can be seen as the main factors determining the direction in which the Middle East moves from now on.

However, a more proactive China policy in the Middle East requires developing practical strategies for dealing with the aforementioned changes before it can proceed.

Mohsen Shariatinia is a research fellow of the Center for Strategic Research in Tehran, Iran.

Ehsan Razani is member of the School of Law and Politics, Islamic Azad University, Shahrood, Iran.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of


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