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The China-Mediterranean Observer: MENA Countries and the Burgeoning U.S.-China Rivalry

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meeting in Riyadh with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Foreign Faisal bin Farhan. Image via Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This month, the research through the media of the broader Mediterranean region brought forth interesting developments in Chinese engagement with the countries of the area. Moreover, several media outlets show a continuing interest in the rivalry between China and the United States, and its possible consequences on the countries and the balance in the Middle East and North Africa.

Great Power Rivalries in the MENA Region

With the installation of the Biden administration in the United States, the countries of the broader Middle East demonstrate rising concerns over the impact of the competition between China and the United States on the region and its consequences over the relationships of the individual countries between both superpowers. In this regard, Saudi positions seem to be twofold. On one hand, Saudi media acknowledge the strategic importance the kingdom could have for the United States’ agenda in the region, especially concerning “competition with China, energy, nuclear armament, and terrorism”. On the other hand, although the Biden administration still claims to support “Saudi Arabia’s right to defend its lands,” Riyadh remains concerned about the steps Washington might take both in the Houthi issue and the negotiations over the renewal of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, as reported by the Bahraini newspaper al-Watan.

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