Saturday, July 14, 2018

China’s Western March Into The Middle East

CHINA’S INTERESTS IN the Middle East are quietly expanding, driven by the region’s growing role as a source of energy and as a recipient of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) investment.
The eighth meeting of the China Arab States Cooperation Forum, (pictured above) held with some fanfare in Beijing this month, brought that into focus, with Beijing promising $23 billion of funding to its guests.
Such large-headline-number funding packages (not that $23 billion is that large by the standards of these things) tend to comprise money already spent or committed and money that will never materialise. But $150 million that will likely be shelled out is the sum allocated to ‘social stability’. As in Africa, Chinese investments in the Middle East are at risk from social and political developments in the region. (See Libya, Zambia and Angola for precedents.)

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