- Politics and Social Issues
China and Its Connection to Israel and Middle East
Historically, the Middle East has had only four major powers involved in it: France, Britain, America, Russia. In the early years, before and just after Israel's creation it was France and England heavily involved. It was not until the early 1960's, America replaced both as the major player and weapons importer\exporter to Israel. Russia meddled in the region in the 50's, with weapon exports to many Arab countries.
Since the 60's, the two major powers influencing the area have been Russia and America, however, this declined after 1992, when Russia ended communist rule. They did continue to support Syria, Egypt and others but were focused more on themselves. This left only America until now.
Today, Russia is re-emerging in Syria under Putin, Iran is a new player and heavily involved and may be in cahoots with Russia to keep Syria- Syria under Assad. America seems to be hesitant to do much in the area unless a real provocative act occurs, and China, which up to now has shown little interest in the region.
China's interest in keeping the Middle East and Israel at peace is economic. Since 1988, China has recognized the palestinians in the Gaza area as a "state" and has always supported its attempt to upgrade its status in the UN. On May 6th, it proposed its own peace plan for the Middle East dilemma that was really regurgitated points presented many times before. Recently, Israel's PM visited China and found that China greatly valued the Israel state for economic reasons now and in the future.
China is Israel’s third largest trade partner after the US and EU, with trade set to grow from around $8 billion to $10 billion in three years. Besides Russia and America, it is the third most desired high tech area for innovative designs in weapon systems. China buys Israeli technology to improve upon just as they did with Russian technology, which then they sell to Iran. Ironically, Israel and China signed five agreements in cooperation and trade in aerospace, agricultural research, financial cooperation, science and technology. In fact, in a disturbing comment, Israel's Netanyahu suggested that if China serves as an “engine for Israeli economic growth . . . I propose that Israel in many ways be the R&D lab for China.”
China is one of Iran's largest purchaser of its oil. The sanctions Obama imposed on Iran did little to China because they were exempt! Iran's weapons are Chinese versions of Russian ones, which Iran buys. But China wants to keep Israel within its own influence for the two natural gas fields off the Israeli coast containing up to 19 trillion cubic feet. China wants some of it and as the fields become developed, no doubt will obtain some that benefits Israel.
But, whose side would China be on should there be another regional war? Would China act like Russia in sending military assets to protect their interests they have invest in? Would they back the palestinians or Israel? Which side do they think provides more economic value?
One can see how China, Russia, Iran and America are now the major influences in this area of the world for economic and political reasons.