An intense powerplay is being witnessed in the Middle East. At the centre of this tussle are Israel, the US, Russia and China. Of course, the United States’ energies are getting entirely focused on granting millions in aid to the Palestinians, while the Chinese are trying to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Russia, however, is allowing Israel to take on Iran – which has emerged as the biggest threat to the Jewish nation in recent times, particularly after Biden emboldened Tehran with his desperate rhetoric of bringing it back to the flawed nuclear deal signed under Obama’s reign.
Russia is all set to benefit squarely from the recent developments, as Israel finds itself backstabbed by the Biden administration. China is certainly making a Middle East push, which is bound to fail. China does not have the trust of Israel, and PM Netanyahu is in no mood to get close to Beijing and its despot – Xi Jinping. China has been trying, of late, to gain a foothold in the Middle East. It has remained a mute spectator to the region for so long. However, Xi Jinping’s BRI plans are failing everywhere – South and Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Africa. Chinese predatory investments and consequent expansionism is being pushed back around the world.
As such, China is desperate for new markets and territories. The Middle East gripped with complex geopolitical conflicts, is a fertile ground for China to try its luck in. Yet, Israel can see right through such lustful Chinese ambitions and is in no mood to cede any space to China. Instead, Netanyahu has made it amply clear that Israel is willing to let Russia take the lead role in the region, and will even divert US-bound high-level intel to Moscow if need be. As long as Russia gives Israel a free hand to deal with Iran and its proxies, Israel is more than willing to abandon the United States under Joe Biden’s rule, while also preventing China from stepping foot into the region.
Israel is not a novice and knows very well what the intentions of China really are. What is working in the absolute disfavour of China is the fact that it recently attempted to broker its own version of peace between Palestine and Israel. While the Palestinian Authority (PA) has accepted Chinese mediation, Israel has not even responded to it. China also shot itself and its Middle East ambitions in the foot by signing a $400 billion super-secret and strategic deal with Iran, which will last for 25 years. Israel’s mantra is clear – in order for any nation to engage with Tel Aviv, ties of that country with Tehran must be the bare minimum.
China, on the other hand, while being in bed with Iran, is trying to get involved as a dominating power in the Middle East. There is no denying the fact that the coming of Joe Biden has created a vacuum of sorts in the Middle East, which China is eyeing desperately to fill. Yet, without earning the goodwill of Israel, China will not be able to make it a mile into the Middle East. Israel is already on the path of making Russia a dominating force in the region, and Beijing coming in and spoiling its party will also rile up Moscow. Adding to Israel’s determination of promoting Russia as a major player in the Middle East is also the Biden administration’s purported decision to push for a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.
Interestingly, what affects Israel has also come to affect the Arab world these days. So, China signing a humongous and strategic deal with Iran has not augured well with countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE too. The Arab world has, in an incredibly short span of time, grown extremely warm ties with Israel. Their common adversary remains the Shi’ite nation of Iran – which Beijing has romantically associated itself with. So, China will not only face resistance from Israel but all Gulf countries at large. The Chinese dream of playing a dominant role in the region is bound to remain just that – a dream.