US and China Go Bump in the Middle East

Khody Akhavi reports in the Asia Times, from Washington:

For China these days it seems that nothing – not rising energy prices; not sanctions aimed at its more unsavory business partners, Myanmar and Sudan; not even the prospect of a nuclear Iran – can curb its thirst for oil.

As China’s energy needs grow at a rate higher than any other country’s, so too have its economic relationships with the oil-producing nations of the Gulf. Like the US more than 60 years ago, China today is seen as a new and commercially refreshing player, happily unsentimental and – crucially – disinterested in the internal affairs of the region.

As Adbulaziz Sager of the Gulf Research Center notes, “The chief advantage of China’s role in the region is its lack of political baggage.”

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