ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Changing Geostrategic Landscape

China in West Asia and Beyond

The Chinese-mediated agreement between the two West Asian rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia, on 10 March, will re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries after a seven-year period of cold hostility. This agreement and Chinese mediation methodology change the regional strategic landscape in historic ways.

Regional alliance structure of West Asia, or the extended region of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is based on a calculus where the two powerful oil-producing states, Saudi Arabia and Iran, have liberally used a system of patronage, client states, proxies and non-state actors to harm each other. Hydrocarbon production, oil trade, pricing and oil pipeline control, make for the material base of these traditional rivalries. Further, the narrative of a Shia Iran and Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Sunni world is used for mobilising popular support for domestic power legitimation and leverage in the Muslim world by both these countries and provides a convenient veil over the real underlying politics of regional hegemony. Add to this the petrodollar that lubricates the United States (US) interests and control and every other oil-starved nation has a stake in the region, and you have the permanent self-invitation for great power presence. Not to forget Israel as the symbiotic Western protectorate with its own interests to keep the region disunited. And the bottom most layer, the Arab public, whose voice is mostly ignored and the subjugated people like the Palestinians who bear the brunt of these rivalries. It is here that the Chinese jumped in with skill and silent panache.

Agreement Clauses and Their Implications

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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