By Robert Gottliebsen
Business Spectator - 20 Jun, 2014
China’s stake in the Middle Eastern turmoil is staggering as it seeks to restore a 21st-century version of the Silk Road. Two decades ago, the US was dependent on the Middle East. Now there is much less US dependence, hence America's changing role. Now it is China that needs the Middle East, and the planned Chinese role in the troubled region goes way beyond simply oil. The US fought the Iraq war and led the drive for sanctions against Iran. But it is the Chinese who plan to capitalise on the fall-out from the American strategies. China won the peace -- at least until now. China is investing billions in both Iraq and Iran not only to secure China’s need for more oil but also to make China the major player in Middle Eastern trade. Fortunately most of the Chinese investment in Iraq is in the south, which has so far has escaped the fighting. The biggest single Chinese investment is in the remarkable Rumaila oil field in southern Iraq. Rumaila is a 50-mile-long deposit of sweet crude with estimated reserves of 16 billion barrels.