Chinese-American Rivalry in the Middle East
The Gulf states seek to diversify their military partnerships as part of the competition for global supremacy between the US and China. One of Washington’s closest regional allies, the United Arab Emirates, plans to conduct its first-ever military exercise with China. Saudi Arabia recently stressed that the US is not its only international partner. Although they buy weapons mainly from the USA, both countries have already purchased arms from China. Thanks to this policy, the Gulf countries benefit economically, diplomatically and militarily while influencing the United States, concerned about the growing potential of China in the region.
The administration of President Joe Biden is trying to bring about a tripartite agreement between the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel. It would include Saudi recognition of the state of Israel in exchange for security guarantees from the US government and promises for the eventual creation of a Palestinian state. According to Marwan Bishara, a senior analyst at Al-Jazeera, a pact of this kind, rather than ensuring peace and stability in the region, could lead to greater polarization, proxy conflicts and further suffering for the inhabitants. According to Bishar, the Americans got involved in Saudi-Israeli relations for a purely strategic reason – the presence of China in the region. They want Saudi Arabia and Israel to submit to their geopolitical interests and distance themselves from China and Russia, especially in advanced technology, defence and energy.