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New alliances upon geographical contiguity

Nov 06,2022 - Last updated at Oct 29,2023

Aristotle once said: “Nature abhorred a vacuum”. It has always been said in popular sayings and proverbs that “the void is always looking for someone to fill”. The new and clandestine American strategy amalgamates the Middle East in the mindset of the White House politicians to counter the increasing interest of China in the Middle East and South Asia. What is important for the US is the Pacific, a vital region that must capture the US attention more than the Middle East itself as China is expanding to the West and South of Asia to take over the position of the US. 

Because of its vicinity to the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf, both China and the US started to reposition, each of them bids for drawing new political strategies with countries in the developing world to shape a new world order. The US wants to keep the old-world order with today’s classical alliances; China backed by Russia tries to redraw the world order and shift alliances based on geographical proximity.

Few years ago, the US started to pull out of the Middle East and South Asia, paving the way for the Chinese and other international players to fill the gap. China, which is looking for a new world order, tries to draw world politics benefiting from economic power. This places the Middle East and Africa under American and Chinese pressure.

Recent western studies have revealed that American strategy in the Middle East, which was based on delegating regional files to other parties, have assisted China to fill the void, and thus raise American pressure on its energy sources. If China is reluctant today to attack Taiwan, it is because of an American military deterrence that cannot be ignored as the US controls energy lines from the Arabian Gulf to China Sea.

The rising concerns at the American official level manifest that the Russian-Chinese alliance in the Middle East will constitute a strong blow to the interests of the West, mainly if Iran joins this alliance. The magnitudes will be more catastrophic for the interests of Europe and the US, as the key international maritime corridors of energy: Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandeb and the Canal Suez, will be at the mercy of an anti-Western triad. The expansion of the Iranian project to the Mediterranean Sea will constitute a fulcrum, making it an important partner for China and Russia in the Middle East.

Formulating a new American strategy that deals with the Middle East in general, with special focus on the Levant, is a must as the US ignore the fact that whoever controls the corridor from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea, controls the political, military, and economic trends of the Middle East and the Gulf states. On the other hand, China's attempts to supply an antidote to the Iranian regime's survival cannot be overlooked, through economic investment deals that exceeded US$400 billion in Iranian energy projects.

The Middle East has always been of utmost geostrategic importance to US decision-makers, given the importance of its geographical location for oil discovery and Israel security. Therefore, the Middle East has been the most tensed during the past 70 years with serious wars and conflicts.

With the United States taking a decision to reduce its strategic position in Africa and the Middle East, in preparation for heading towards East Asia, to mobilise security and military activities in the face of the China and Russia, regional and international players rushed to fill the geopolitical vacuum that would result from the process of American military redeployment by concluding strategic cooperation agreements in various fields including military and technology transfers to the countries of the Middle East to establish a strategic foothold in vital geopolitical arena.

What happened with the energy crisis recently and the decision to decrease the daily production of oil is in line with this pullout from the Middle East region and it is in favour of China and Russia: China will cement its ties with the Middle East and Gulf countries and Russia will reap more yields for exporting oil and gas. 

Thus, the importance of the Middle East region, which is undergoing a major transformation and new alignments, becomes clear in light of the American decision to ease its burdens. The recent energy predicament had convinced Washington more than any time before that it will not allow an alternative security equation in the region that assists China to take a lead.

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