Russia and China role in Arab: political and economic policies

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  • #1
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Motivation from this post: https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3303488&postcount=4

What are current political and economic policies of both Russia and China in Arab? It is bit unstable and no one knows what will be in the future. But, I thought it will be interesting to explore topics such as:
- How Arab (governments and people) sees Russia and China, I have been trying to look for approval ratings for those countries for few months now but haven't been so lucky
- What is Russia and China's attitude towards Arab world countries
- What are current economic and political policies
- What kind investments are done by Russia and China in Arab worlds
and more ...

Few things I found recently for Russia but need to look into them:
http://www.mepc.org/articles-commentary/commentary/russia-and-arab-uprisings-2011
"Russia and the Arab Uprisings of 2011"
Author: Mark N. Katz (American): Senior Fellow at the Middle East Policy Council and a Professor of Government at George Mason University


http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/business_for_business/article/russian-arab-economic-cooperation-uncovering-new-possibilities/407743.html [Broken]
"Russian-Arab Economic Cooperation: Uncovering New Possibilities"
Moscow times (Russian)

http://rbth.ru/articles/2011/03/10/peering_through_the_dust_in_the_arab_world_12545.html
"Russia needs to reassess its foreign policy goals for the Middle East."
(Russian)
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
mege
I forget the original place that I saw this news, but a quick google search found this AP article from Friday:

China Selling Pakistan 50 Fighter Jets
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/pakistan-minister-china-selling-pakistan [Broken]

"Gilani's four-day visit highlighted Pakistan's warm ties with China at a time of heightened tensions with Washington over the killing of Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town by American special forces.

Pakistan is seen as eager to show a demanding Washington that it has a strong diplomatic alternative in uncritical ally China."
 
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  • #3
Majd100
This is a good topic, but I prefer first to introduce the changes in the classical relations between the Arab world and the West from 2001 to 2011:

- After 11/9, anti-Arab controlled propaganda which tried to show the Arab as retarded non-civilized human scared many thinkers and people in Arab world. I believe this is one of the rare times in history that Arab feel their existence in danger. I read many articles published in Arab media in different countries warning about the "end of Arab" by the angry wounded America giant. For example, the speech of Ann Coulter about invasion of Arab world, killing their leaders and changing their religion by force was taken seriously by Arab media. New maps of Middle East were spread in Arab and Islamic media shows that all Arab countries were divided into small cantons based on religious groups to keep Israel as the largest and oldest State in the region based on a religious community.

- In 2002 -2003, Most of the European nations and politicians aware about the right wing Americans plans to occupy the Arab world and to change the political map based on the theory "Arab are not civilized enough to have their own democracy". These nations could not wait to see the other side of Mediterranean a field of American invasions and wars, so they went out in huge demonstrations against the war in Iraq, their government established anti-war axis with the leadership of Germany and France (supported also by Russia and China). The slogans of "Thanks France" and "Thanks Germany" spread in Arab world.

- 2004-2005: The EU axis ended, but the Iraqi resistance against the American gave hope for the other Arab that they can resist the American invasions. Furthermore the ABu-Gharib issue shows that the American are not morally superior as they used to claim in their media after 11/9.

- 2006-2009: Israel invasions to Lebanon and Gaza were stopped by small militants groups. For the first time in Modern history, Israel army in South Lebanon appeared in such miserable situation. Their tanks and warships exploded by individual Chinese and Russian missiles developed in Iran and Syria.

- 2009-2010: transition stable period, where Arab world is divided into two groups: pro USA (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and most of the Arab countries) and pro Iran (Syria, and the Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups).

2011- Arab spring started and the two axes (pro Iran and pro USA) are weakened.
 
  • #4
Majd100
Actually many Arab people believe that the ties with China and Russia should be strengthen. For them, the West is not trusted since the Lawrence of Arabia fake promises. The historical relations between the Arab world from one side and China and Russia from the other side is limited compared with the relation with the West, but after the invasion of Iraq, many Arab started to talk about new relations with Russia and China as alternative to the Arab relation with USA and UK.

During my last visits to Arab countries, I realized that many people are happy to visit China. They described them as a friendly nation. The economical relations are developed quickly; every trader with a few thousands of Dollars can establish a successful business with Chinese. High percentage of products in a country as Jordan are imported from china from the kids' toys to motors and heavy equipments. In general the Chinese have no problem with Arab or other foreigners, they respect them.

Concerning Russian, they have a problem with Chechnya as a Muslims region, but I did not hear about hostility or hate against Arab, especially they never have any war in history as nations.

Both countries provided a political and military support for Arabs since decades. China has strategic military relation with Pakistan. They established a nuclear reactor in Algeria for civil use.

Russia still sells their military equipments to several Arab armies and Iran. Especially advance defense systems.
 
  • #5
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IMO - Russia and China both want oil and neither care to spend any money on defense in the region - their motivation is profits in the short term and a weakened US in the longer term.
 
  • #6
russ_watters
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In other words, they are still fighting the Cold War.
 
  • #7
russ_watters
Mentor
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For example, the speech of Ann Coulter about invasion of Arab world, killing their leaders and changing their religion by force was taken seriously by Arab media.
Thanks for that post. It is interesting to see how groups will latch on to and promote fringe ideas of their enemies for the sake of their own political power. Reminds me vaguely of MacCarthyism.
Furthermore the ABu-Gharib issue shows that the American are not morally superior as they used to claim in their media after 11/9.
I think that should be reworded to 'not as morally superior...' Because we are still most certainly morally superior to just about every nation in the ME. The current treatment of protesters by several governments alone is clear evidence of that. But I suppose like the above, propagandists were able to convince the Arab public that Abu Ghraib was a systemic problem as opposed to an isolated incident, not directed by the government.
 
  • #8
386
5
I don't know much about that, but as a Chinese, I want to share some of my knowledge. Russians have always been selling arms to Arab, look at the pictures of people with AKs, RPGs, it's quite obvious. Probably Russian is still fighting the cold war, though the government has transformed into capitalism instead of socialism. Because it is still the second strongest country in military forces, Russia definately doesn't want to lose the status in global scale. Recently, Russians bought a huge battleship from France, and I think it is a way of showing desire for more control internationally, as naval force is important in treating international affairs.

China has changed a lot after the 1980s. Though the government is controlled by the socialism government, the economics is still market economy, still yet it is difficult to set up big transnational companies. Another thing is that we are not able to trade in foreign stock market in mainland. Now China is not quite against USA as that time, as political leadership has changed. Actually in middle-east affairs, China is more intimate with Isreal rather than Arabs (probably some historical reasons). And yes China is selling arms, but definately less than Russia, and I guess Isreal doesn't require weapon from China (the cartridges are different). And I think China is probably the biggest country of exporting daily goods, so there must be great amount of transaction in that section
 
  • #9
skippy1729
For example, the speech of Ann Coulter about invasion of Arab world, killing their leaders and changing their religion by force was taken seriously by Arab media.

The correct quote is:

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
Source National Review Online.

While conversion and "changing their religion by force" may be synonymous in the Arab world, they are not the same in modern Western Civilization.

Do you know (or recall) which phrase was used in the Arab media?
 
  • #10
Char. Limit
Gold Member
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The correct quote is:

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
Source National Review Online.

While conversion and "changing their religion by force" may be synonymous in the Arab world, they are not the same in modern Western Civilization.

Do you know (or recall) which phrase was used in the Arab media?

Still really, really inflammatory, IMO. Especially to a region full of devout Muslims.
 
  • #11
378
2
There are idiots all over the world, we can focus on better things IMO.

I was hoping to state only Russia-China/Arab relationships so that we don't end up discussing these idiots.
 
  • #12
skippy1729
Still really, really inflammatory, IMO. Especially to a region full of devout Muslims.

That would be those devout Muslims who believe that anyone converting from Islam to Christianity should be executed by the state?

I was just inquiring into how the Arab media reported her comments.

Skippy
 
  • #13
Majd100
It is better not change the direction of the discussion.

Hamas , which is considered as a terrorist organization by USA and the EU, has good official relation with Russia. This proves that Russia diplomacy in ME trying to be independent from the West, even they use their relation to make pressure on the West.

Russia is a member in the Islamic world conference taking into account that Muslims (native people) around 10% to 15% of the total populations.

Current Chinese policy is soft in general; they would like to develop their relations with the world in general and to avoid conflicts. They consider the Islamic world as important source of Energy and a close neighbor.

Anyway, after the current Arab spring we will live with new democratic Arab world which could united and build new strategic relations based on the interest of people for the first time in modern history.
 
  • #14
Majd100
That would be those devout Muslims who believe that anyone converting from Islam to Christianity should be executed by the state?

I was just inquiring into how the Arab media reported her comments.

Skippy

Ann Coulter quotes were presented in Arab media to show that the right American wing is full by religious hate and they use the war on terrorism as excuse to invade the Islamic world and to establish the great Israel from Euphrates (Iraq) to Nile (Egypt) based on their bible. Do not worry, Arabs are human as you and they have enough brain to believe that Coulter suggestions are not applicable in modern age!!
 
  • #15
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A brief overview of China-Arab relationships by MOHAMED BIN HUWAIDIN
Professor of Political Science, United Arab Emirates University

Despite the centrality of petroleum sales in Sino-Arab and Sino-Persian relations, China’s closer ties to the Middle East have necessitated more complicated bilateral relationships. For instance, China has been a bulwark against U.S. and UN initiatives to stem the humanitarian crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region because of the strategic importance of Sino-Sudanese trade. At the same time, China has embarked on a number of joint projects with the Gulf countries, such as a free trade zone and the investments in the field of energy. As Chinese interests in the Middle East have become more complicated, so too have Middle Eastern interest in China.

Economic
Arab oil interests top Arabs’ economic interests regarding China. The oil-producing Arab countries regard China as a promising market for Arab oil, especially considering the consistently high growth rates in the Chinese economy, which, as mentioned earlier, account for 38 percent of the total increase in global demand for oil. The Chinese market not only presents an opportunity to diversify into foreign markets, it also lessens Arab dependence on Western markets to sell Arab oil.

It is likely that China and India will become the two most important centers for Gulf investments in the near future, surpassing European and American markets.

Political
Arab political interests regarding China revolve around employing Sino-Arab relations to balance American and Western influence in the region and in counteracting contentious issues with the United States

Arms
Middle Eastern countries are the main market for Chinese arms, with 82.8 percent of total Chinese military sales going to Arab countries and Iran

http://www.arabinsight.org/aiarticles/194.pdf [Broken]

It can be interpreted differently, but I think China is mainly interested in developing strong trade relationships with the Arab world not so much in interfering in the domestic Arab affairs.
 
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  • #16
149
0
Ann Coulter quotes were presented in Arab media to show that the right American wing is full by religious hate and they use the war on terrorism as excuse to invade the Islamic world and to establish the great Israel from Euphrates (Iraq) to Nile (Egypt) based on their bible. Do not worry, Arabs are human as you and they have enough brain to believe that Coulter suggestions are not applicable in modern age!!

I don't believe anyone else has welcomed you Majd100 to PF - please allow me to be the first.
 
  • #17
100
1
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/05/16/114269/wikileaks-cables-show-oil-a-major.html [Broken]

there's more, but generally, russia seems to be seen as a competitor/threat, and china as a tool here
...
Gazprom, which grew out of the former Soviet Union's state gas ministry, had been busy buying up Yukos' far-flung empire, stoking American fears that soon Russia and its tough leader, Vladimir Putin, would control virtually all of the natural gas flowing to Europe.

The United States wanted to stop that from happening. So the American embassy in Slovakia hired a Texas-based oil consultant and began secretly advising the Slovakian government on how to buy the 49 percent stake Yukos had held in Transpetrol, the Slovakian oil pipeline company. ...

...
Sometimes the U.S. approach seems mystifying. An Aug. 17, 2009, secret cable from the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, recalled how days earlier the U.S. charge d'affaires, Richard Erdman, pushed Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al Naimi to get closer to China.

But there was an ulterior motive. At the time, the United States was trying to persuade China to back sanctions against Iran over the country's nuclear fuel enrichment program. The U.S. believes the program is part of an Iranian effort to develop nuclear weapons. "We wouldn't mind seeing Saudi sales replacing some of Iran's oil exports to China. This would have the welcome side impact of reducing Iranian leverage over China," Erdman told Naimi in a cable. ...

...
Eni has been in the news of late because it's the largest player in Libya's oil sector and Scaroni publicly voiced concern that U.S.-led efforts to oust strongman Moammar Gadhafi weren't in Italy's interest. On April 20, Scaroni announced that Eni was temporarily shelving its deal in Libya that would have given Gazprom a big stake in Libyan oil, a move the leaked documents show the U.S. had been seeking since 2008.
...

if you have heard of the http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2003/oct/20/oil" [Broken], it should hardly be surprising.

now, this is interesting. does china want a naval base in pakistan? that would be something indeed. how many billion does it cost to stop that?
http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/new_great_game_limits_americas.html
China's now playing the role once played in the 19th and early 20th century by Imperial Russia, and from 1979-1991 by the Soviet Union. China wants a major naval base on the Indian Ocean. Pakistan is what they have in mind.

As Robert Kaplan details in Monsoon: the Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power (2010), China and Pakistan several years ago signed a joint venture to build a deep-water port in a place called Gwadar. It's ideally situated for China's purposes. Gwadar is an old smuggling port in the rebellious Baluchistan province of Pakistan. It sits just east of Iran, on the Arabian Sea, not far from the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

The deep-water port and a new, two-lane highway linking Gwadar to Pakistan's main port of Karachi have been completed. However, the Paks -- double-dealing again! -- have leased the port to Singapore.
 
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  • #18
378
2
It is better not change the direction of the discussion.

Hamas , which is considered as a terrorist organization by USA and the EU, has good official relation with Russia. This proves that Russia diplomacy in ME trying to be independent from the West, even they use their relation to make pressure on the West.

It is very interesting, I wasn't aware of cozy relationships between Russia and Hamas:
The leaders of the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas movements will arrive in Moscow on Friday to discuss plans for the recognition of a Palestinian state, a member of the Palestinian Al-Shaab party said.
http://en.rian.ru/world/20110520/164138224.html

China also supported the unity pact:
BEIJING, May 5 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday welcomed and congratulated on the reconciliation between the two leading Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, and appreciated the efforts from all sides including Egypt.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-05/05/c_13860573.htm
 
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  • #19
Majd100
I don't believe anyone else has welcomed you Majd100 to PF - please allow me to be the first.

Many thanks :)
 
  • #20
AlephZero
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It can be interpreted differently, but I think China is mainly interested in developing strong trade relationships with the Arab world not so much in interfering in the domestic Arab affairs.

You are taking a short-term view of history. China has had stong trade links with the Arab world for thousands of years already. Ever heard of the "silk route"?

China has several advantages in its current strategy of hoovering up the rights to natural resources (including undeveloped resources) anywhere it can, including the middle east.

1. It isn't the USA.
2. It doesn't have the West's imperial/colonial legacy.
3. It doesn't let moral philosophy ("failed states", "transitions to democracy", etc) get in the way of pragmatic economics.
4. It is happy to play the long game (i.e. 10 to 100 years) rather than going for quick hits.
5. It has a huge trade surplus to fund #4.

Of course most of the natural resources that are on offer are in the third world. I would take it the main reason what China isn't looking for oil extraction rights in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, is that the cost of buying off the political objections would be too high, not some philosophical argument about the "world order" or "balance of poiwer".
 
  • #21
100
1
speak of the devil...

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3914bd36-8467-11e0-afcb-00144feabdc0.html

Pakistan turns to China for naval base

By Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad and Kathrin Hille in Beijing

Published: May 22 2011 13:22 | Last updated: May 22 2011 19:46

Pakistan has asked China to build a naval base at its south-western port of Gwadar and expects the Chinese navy to maintain a regular presence there, a plan likely to alarm both India and the US.

“We have asked our Chinese brothers to please build a naval base at Gwadar,” Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar, Pakistan’s defence minister, told the Financial Times, confirming that the request was conveyed to China during a visit last week by Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s prime minister.

...
 
  • #22
378
2

I don't think your links went over Pakistan President recent trips to China and Russia.

http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/RussiasGrowingEngagementwithPakistan_spurushottam_230511
(written by an Indian think tank)

Asif Ali Zardari’s first official visit to Russia, which, according to his website, was also the first time that a Pakistani President had been officially invited to Russia since 1974, took place on May 11-13, 2011. The bilateral Summit yielded agreements on air services, energy and agriculture. The two sides agreed to maintain regional peace and reiterated support for the joint fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, and expansion of coordination on these and other issues. They also agreed to cooperate in bilateral trade, investment, the financial sector including barter and swap schemes, and business and joint projects including the modernization of a metallurgical plant in Karachi, construction of power generation facilities and the development of gas fields in Pakistan.

Many sources I went over earlier claimed that this was due to OBL event but I don't think so ..

The timing of the Summit - just 10 days after the killing of Osama bin Laden - inevitably gave rise to some speculation as to whether it was calculated to send a signal to the US. This needs to be laid to rest. Such high-level visits are planned well in advance.


I also read about the Russian spill over concern in one other article:

Like all affected countries, Russia is deeply concerned at the accentuation of instability in the region and its spillover effects into its southern periphery, increase in drug trafficking and terrorism, etc. Russia may also be uneasy at the erosion of its influence in Eurasia, while China increases its stranglehold over the region’s resources, transportation and energy networks. Thus the massive copper deposits at Aynak – discovered by Soviet experts – are now being exploited by China.
 
  • #23
100
1
well, i don't think these events just sprang out of nowhere. they've likely been been in communication for a long time before now. but what the OBL capture does is significantly reduce the USG's excuse for waging war in the region. with the USG not having firm control of pakistan the way it did in iraq, now is a prime opportunity for opportunism by russia and china. so now, here they come, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it without looking like the bad guy.

about the drug thing, the poppies have been a thorn in the side of russia and china for a long time now. it would be funny if one of them actually steps in and halts production. we always had the means, but for unnamed reasons never gave more than a dog and pony show.
 
  • #24
BobG
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IMO - Russia and China both want oil and neither care to spend any money on defense in the region - their motivation is profits in the short term and a weakened US in the longer term.

In other words, they are still fighting the Cold War.

Russia produces more oil than any nation in the world and is second in exports behind Saudi Arabia. They're also the world's largest exporter of natural gas. Most of their exports are to Europe. (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rs.html - see Economic overview)

It is true that events that raise the price of oil is good for Russia and that the 2008 decrease in oil prices in response to the economic crisis hurt Russia badly, but they're not exactly in the same situation as China, which absolutely has to get oil from somewhere - the same as the US.

In my opinion, being in competition for the same natural resources is more dangerous than competing political ideology.
 
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  • #25
BobG
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I think that should be reworded to 'not as morally superior...' Because we are still most certainly morally superior to just about every nation in the ME. The current treatment of protesters by several governments alone is clear evidence of that. But I suppose like the above, propagandists were able to convince the Arab public that Abu Ghraib was a systemic problem as opposed to an isolated incident, not directed by the government.

Perhaps because the real story behind Abu Ghraib and other instances of abuse are a little more complicated and because even the US Senate has said, "The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of "a few bad apples" acting on their own.." (http://armed-services.senate.gov/Publications/Detainee%20Report%20Final_April%2022%202009.pdf [Broken])

I think it's safe to say the US doesn't have a history of detainee abuse prior to Bush and that the treatment of Abu Ghraib detainees was not the policy of the US, even under Bush. It was a systemic problem, however, as there were things the Bush administration did that set up a bad situation. In effect, Abu Ghraib was what happens when you delegate low priority interrogations to subcontractors with little expertise and let them interpret and apply badly written guidance on their own, and, even worse, somehow let poorly trained National Guard troops believe they're working for those subcontractors.
 
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