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'US must re-engage with Middle East to tackle growing Chinese influence in region'

ANI | Updated: Nov 09, 2021 23:26 IST


Dubai [UAE], November 9 (ANI): China's influence in recent years has grown considerably over the Middle East countries, a shift that is being attributed to the shift in the policy of the US government to disengage from the region.
China stepped in to fill the place of the US in the Middle East region, which started with the policy shift under Barack Obama and accelerated under the Donald Trump administration. It created a vacuum which, for the benefit of the region, needed to be filed by some countries, according to Al Arabiya Post.
"China has established comprehensive 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 flurry of diplomatic activity indicates that Chinese leaders increasingly perceive the Middle East as important to their political and strategic goals, according to Fulton.
China's Belt and BRI has left scores of lower- and middle-income countries (LMIC) saddled with "hidden debts" totalling USD 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 rather than aid to establish a dominant position in the international development finance market.
The Middle East publication further argued that China's growing influence and US approach to disengage can be a threat to the Middle Eastern countries and the region can fall into China's debt trap.
"Increased investments by China will mean more and more dependency of the region on China for economic development and that can be used by China in its favour by slowly interfering with policy and other decisions of the region to suit its interest."
The editorial in the Post further argued that it is important that the US re-thinks its policy of disengaging in the Middle East and slowly enter back the region and not let China dominate over it.
"The increasing influence of China in the Middle East has posed a danger to the position of the US and some think tanks believe it also dangers the national security interests of the US." (ANI)

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