China’s presence in the Middle East North Africa region has been steadily rising over the past 25 years and is now entering a new, more complex phase that extends beyond commercial ties to also include potential security implications, writes Afshin Molavi, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and editor of the New Silk Road Monitor.
With the United States showing signs of fatigue managing its ties in the Mideast and Gulf regions, China’s presence is seen by many MENA countries as a refreshing change. But just as in Africa, Molavi contends that local stakeholders are trying to discourage Washington from misinterpreting their desire to build closer ties with Beijing as evidence of a new zero-sum geopolitical contest.
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