Advertisement

China, Russia and the Great Power Contest in the Middle East

  • Jo Inge BekkevoldEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter argues that the hegemonic position of the United States in the Middle East is giving way to a new great power triangle consisting of the United States, Russia, and China. The relationship between these three great powers will be characterized more by competition than cooperation. Russia and China have more in common with each other than with the United States, but Beijing is more concerned with stability and economic cooperation in the region than is Moscow. Russia’s relations with countries in the Middle East are mostly one-dimensional, revolving around security and arms trade. China’s relationships are more multi-dimensional, encompassing major investments, infrastructural development, crude oil imports, a steadily expanding arms trade, and growing security footprint.

Keywords

Middle East Great power contest US hegemony Arab Policy Paper Anti-piracy effort in the Gulf of Aden UN Security Council Iran Saudi-Arabia Egypt Turkey Syria OPEC Oil Indian Ocean Region Suez canal Gateway BRI PLA Navy 

Literature

  1. AIIB. 2017. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Homepage. https://www.aiib.org/en/about-aiib/governance/board-directors//. Accessed 9 July 2017.
  2. Al Jazeera. 2017. Astana Hosts Eighth Round of Talks on Syria’s War. Al Jazeera News, December 20. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/astana-hosts-eighth-talks-syria-war-171220093245167.html. Accessed 27 Feb 2018.
  3. Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany. 2017. 64 Years Later, CIA Finally Releases Details of Iranian Coup. Foreign Policy, June 20. http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/20/64-years-later-cia-finally-releases-details-of-iranian-coup-iran-tehran-oil/. Accessed 27 Feb 2018.
  4. Alterman, Jon B., and John W. Garver. 2008. The Vital Triangle: China, the United States, and the Middle East. Washington, DC: CSIS Paperback, Center for Strategic & International Studies.Google Scholar
  5. Bacevich, Andrew J. 2017. America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  6. Baev, Pavel K. 2015. Russia as Opportunist or Spoiler in the Middle East? The International Spectator 50 (2): 8–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bekkevold, Jo Inge, and Sunniva Engh. 2017. Silk Road Diplomacy: China’s Strategic Interests in South Asia. In South Asia and the Great Powers: International Relations and Regional Security, ed. Sten Rynning. London: I.B. Tauris. Google Scholar
  8. Benaim, Daniel, Mokhtar Awad, and Brian Katulis. 2017. Setting the Terms for U.S.–Egypt Relations. Center for American Progress, February 21. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/reports/2017/02/21/426654/setting-the-terms-for-u-s-egypt-relations/. Accessed 19 Aug 2017.
  9. Blank, Stephen J. 2014. Russian Strategy and Policy in the Middle East. Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs VIII (2): 9–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blank, Stephen J. 2015. Russia’s New Presence in the Middle East. American Foreign Policy Interests 37: 69–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Borger, Julian. 2011. Libya No-Fly Resolution Reveals Global Split in UN. The Guardian, March 18. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/mar/18/libya-no-fly-resolution-split. Accessed 1 May 2017.
  12. Brzezinski, Zbigniew. 2012. Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power. New York: Basic Books. Google Scholar
  13. Chaziza, Mordechai. 2016. Comprehensive Strategic Partnership: A New Stage in China–Egypt Relations. Middle East Review of International Affairs 20 (3): 41–50.Google Scholar
  14. China Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2016. The 7th Ministerial Meeting of the China–Arab States Cooperation Forum Concludes in Doha, May 12. http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1363599.shtml. Accessed 5 July 2017.
  15. China National Bureau of Statistics. 2017. China Statistical Yearbook 2016, Beijing. http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/ndsj/2016/indexeh.htm. Accessed 9 July 2017.
  16. China State Council. 2016. China’s Arab Policy Paper. Xinhua, January 13. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2016-01/13/c_135006619.htm. Accessed 18 Apr 2017.
  17. China State Council Information Office. 2015. China’s Military Strategy. Xinhua, May 26. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2015-05/26/content_20820628.htm. Accessed 08 July 2017.
  18. Cooley, Alexander. 2012. Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Department of Defence. 2016. Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2016. Annual Report to Congress, Office of the Secretary of Defense, April 26.Google Scholar
  20. Dorsey, James M. 2016. China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom. RSIS Working Paper, No. 296, March, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.Google Scholar
  21. Flanagan, Stephen J. 2013. The Turkey–Russia–Iran Nexus: Eurasian Power Dynamics. The Washington Quarterly 36 (Winter): 163–178. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fleurant, Aude, et.al. 2017. Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2016. SIPRI Fact Sheet, February.Google Scholar
  23. Gall, Carlotta, and Andrew Higgins. 2017. Turkey Signs Russian Missile Deal, Pivoting from NATO. New York Times, September 12. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/12/world/europe/turkey-russia-missile-deal.html. Accessed 5 Oct 2017.
  24. Garver, John W. 2006. China and Iran: Ancient Partners in a Post-imperial World. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Google Scholar
  25. Garver, John W. 2016a. China’s Quest: The History of the Foreign Relations of the People’s Republic of China. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Garver, John W. 2016b. India and the Emerging Sino-Iranian Partnership. Paper presented at the conference ‘India and the Great Powers: Continuity and Change’, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, 21 November.Google Scholar
  27. Geranmayeh, Ellie, and Kadri Liik. 2016. The New Power Couple: Russia and Iran in the Middle East. European Council on Foreign Relations Policy Brief, September.Google Scholar
  28. Girit, Selin. 2015. China–Turkey Relationship Strained Over Uighurs. BBC News, Istanbul, July 9, 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-33440998. Accessed 25 June 2017.
  29. Hanna, Michael Wahid. 2015. Getting Over Egypt: Time to Rethink Relations. Foreign Affairs, November/December. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/egypt/getting-over-egypt. Accessed 18 Aug 2017.
  30. Hannah, John. 2016. Russia’s Middle East Offensive. Foreign Policy, September 13. http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/13/russias-middle-east-offensive/. Accessed 20 June 2017.
  31. Hiim, Henrik S. 2015. Selective Assistance: China and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation. Unpublished PhD thesis submitted to the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo, October.Google Scholar
  32. Hill, Fiona, and Omer Taspinar. 2006. Turkey and Russia: Axis of the Excluded? Survival 48 (1): 81–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hille, Kathrin, Erika Solomon, Heba Saleh, and John Reed. 2017. Russia’s Middle East Ambitions Grow with Syria Battlefield Success. Financial Times, January 19. https://www.ft.com/content/c131d7c2-dda7-11e6-9d7c-be108f1c1dce. Accessed 20 June 2017.
  34. Hindy, Lily. 2017. A Rising China Eyes the Middle East. The Century Foundation, April 6. https://tcf.org/content/report/rising-china-eyes-middle-east/. Accessed 27 June 2017.
  35. International Monetary Fund. 2017. Direction of Trade Statistics. http://www.imf.org/en/Data. Accessed 9 July 2017.
  36. Jacobs, Andrew, and Jane Perlez. 2017. U.S. Wary of Its New Neighbor in Djibouti: A Chinese Naval Base. New York Times, February 25. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/25/world/africa/us-djibouti-chinese-naval-base.html. Accessed 5 July 2017.
  37. Kinzer, Stephen. 2003. All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  38. Layne, Christopher. 2009a. The Waning of U.S. Hegemony—Myth or Reality? A Review Essay. International Security 34 (1): 147–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Layne, Christopher. 2009b. America’s Middle East Grand Strategy After Iraq: The Moment for Offshore Balancing Has Arrived. Review of International Studies 35: 5–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. LeDonne, John P. 1997. The Russian Empire and the World, 1700–1917: The Geopolitics of Expansion and Containment. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Legvold, Robert (ed.). 2007. Russian Foreign Policy in the 21st Century and the Shadow of the Past. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Lo, Bobo. 2015. Russia and the New World Disorder. London: Chatham House; Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  43. Luhn, Alec. 2017. Russian Special Forces Sent to Back Renegade Libyan General—Reports. The Guardian, March 14. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/14/russian-special-forces-deployed-in-egypt-near-libyan-border-report. Accessed 19 Aug 2017.
  44. Mansfield, Peter. 2013. A History of the Middle East, 4th ed., revised and updated by Nicolas Pelham. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  45. Miller, Benjamin. 2004. The International System and Regional Balance in the Middle East. In Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century, ed. T.V. Paul, James J. Wirtz, and Michel Fortmann. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Nader, Aya. 2015. Egypt, China Sign New Weapons Deal. Daily News Egypt, May 2. https://dailynewsegypt.com/2015/05/02/egypt-china-sign-new-weapons-deal/. Accessed 22 Aug 2017.
  47. Nizameddin, Talal. 2013. Putin’s New Order in the Middle East. London: Hurst & Company.Google Scholar
  48. OPEC. 2017. OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 2017, 52nd ed. Vienna: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.Google Scholar
  49. Paul, T.V. 2004. Introduction: The Enduring Axioms of Balance of Power Theory and Their Contemporary Relevance. In Balance of Power. Theory and Practice in the 21st Century, ed. T.V. Paul, James J. Wirtz, and Michel Fortmann. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Qian, Qichen. 2005. Ten Episodes in China’s Diplomacy. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  51. Rachman, Gideon. 2011. American Decline: This Time It’s for Real. Foreign Policy 184 (January/February): 59–65.Google Scholar
  52. Ren, Mu. 2014. China’s Non-intervention Policy in UNSC Sanctions in the 21st Century: The Cases of Libya, North Korea, and Zimbabwe. Ritsumeikan International Affairs 12: 101–134.Google Scholar
  53. Ross, Robert S. 2004. Bipolarity and Balancing in East Asia. In Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century, ed. T.V. Paul, James J. Wirtz, and Michel Fortmann. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Russell Mead, Walter. 2016. Russia Re-emerges as a Great Power in the Middle East. The American Interest. https://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/09/12/russia-re-emerges-as-a-great-power-in-the-middle-east/. Accessed 20 June 2017.
  55. Salem, Paul. 2008. The Middle East: Evolution of a Broken Regional Order. Carnegie Papers, Carnegie Middle East Center, Number 9, June, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  56. Scobell, Andrew, and Alireza Nader. 2016. China in the Middle East: The Wary Dragon. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stepanova, Ekaterina. 2016. Russia in the Middle East: Back to a “Grand Strategy”—Or Enforcing Multilateralism. politique étrangerè 2: 1–14.Google Scholar
  58. Tamkin, Emily. 2017. Time to Rethink the U.S.–Egypt Relationship, Experts Tell Senate. Foreign Policy, April 25. http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/04/25/time-to-rethink-the-u-s-egypt-relationship-experts-tell-senate/. Accessed 19 Aug 2017.
  59. Theohary, Catherine A. 2016. Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2008–2015. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service (December 19).Google Scholar
  60. Tiezzi, Shannon. 2016. The Belt and Road and Suez Canal: China–Egypt Relations Under Xi Jinping. China Policy Institute: Analysis, February 16. https://cpianalysis.org/2016/02/16/87681/. Accessed 25 June 2017.
  61. Trenin, Dmitri. 2016. Russia in the Middle East: Moscow’s Objectives, Priorities, and Policy Drivers. Carnegie Task Force White Paper. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 5. http://carnegieendowment.org/files/03-25-16_Trenin_Middle_East_Moscow_clean.pdf. Accessed 20 June 2017.
  62. Trevelyan, Laura. 2011. China and Russia Have Vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution Condemning Syria Over Its Crackdown on Anti-government Protesters. BBC News, New York, October 5. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-15177114. Accessed 1 May 2017.
  63. Tunsjø, Øystein. 2013. Security and Profit in China’s Energy Security Policy: Hedging Against Risk. New York: Columbia University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tunsjø, Øystein. 2018. The Return of Bipolarity in World Politics: China, the United States and Geostructural Realism. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  65. United Nations. 2011. Security Council Fails to Adopt Draft Resolution Condemning Syria’s Crackdown on Anti-government Protestors, Owing to Veto by Russian Federation, China. SC/10403, October 4. https://www.un.org/press/en/2011/sc10403.doc.htm. Accessed 12 July 2017.
  66. United Nations. 2017. Security Council—Veto List. Dag Hammarskjold Library. http://research.un.org/en/docs/sc/quick. Accessed 7 Aug 2017.
  67. US Energy Information Administration. 2017. More Chinese Crude Oil Imports Coming from Non-OPEC Countries. Today in Energy, April 14. https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=30792. Accessed 7 July 2017.
  68. Wintour, Patrick. 2017. Russia in Power-Broking Role as Syria Peace Talks Begin in Astana. The Guardian, January 23. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/22/russia-syria-talks-astana-kazakhstan-. Accessed 15 Aug 2017.
  69. Xi, Jinping. 2016. Work Together for a Bright Future of China–Arab Relations. Speech at the Arab League Headquarters, Cairo, January 21. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2016xivisitmiddleeast/2016-01/22/content_23191229.htm. Accessed 5 July 2017.
  70. Yun, Sun. 2012. Syria: What China Has Learned from Its Libya Experience. Asia-Pacific Bulletin, Number 152, East–West Centre, February 27.Google Scholar
  71. Zakaria, Fareed. 2017. “Say Hello to a Post-America World. Washington Post, July 27. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/say-hello-to-a-post-america-world/2017/07/27/aad19d68-7308-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?utm_term=.33426f643548. Accessed 3 Oct 2017.
  72. Zhou, Rong. 2017. B&R Can Help Strengthen China–Turkey Ties. Global Times, May 24. http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1048523.shtml. Accessed 25 June 2017.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Institute for Defence StudiesOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations