Iraq Is Becoming China’s Newest Client in the Middle East

After Russia and Pakistan, Iraq has received the largest amount of Chinese energy investment in all of Eurasia. Beijing is now in the process of turning the country into a major hub of its Belt and Road Initiative, a series of transportation and infrastructure projects that aims to create a continuous chain of ports, railways, and power plants running across the continent. Ksenia Svetlova writes:

Nowadays China is involved in the building of al-Khairat heavy oil power plant near Karbala [in central Iraq]. It took the promise to finance construction of 1,000 schools (and some 7,000 schools in the future) in return for oil products to secure the al-Khairat deal. China’s state company also won the contract to develop the Mansuriya gas field and there is no shortage of other industrial and civil projects.

In 2008, the China National Petroleum Corporation signed a huge production deal with the Iraqi government and became the first foreign firm to do so since the war. In 2013, China bought almost half of Iraqi oil production. During these years Iraq acquired Chinese drones to fight Islamic state, supported the Hong Kong national security law at the UN and defended China’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang.

China is slowly but surely building its position in the Middle East and that this new reality will affect the global power competition worldwide.

Last year, Tehran and Beijing also signed a major cooperation agreement. Svetlova suggests that China may see Iraq as a safer investment, or more reliable supplier of energy, than Iran. But given the Islamic Republic’s ever-increasing influence over its western neighbor, there is also a possibility that Tehran has itself encouraged the investment in Iraq.

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Read more at Media Line

More about: China, Iraq, Middle East

The Attempted Murder of Salman Rushdie Should Render the New Iran Deal Dead in the Water

Aug. 15 2022

On Friday, the Indian-born, Anglo-American novelist Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed and severely wounded while giving a public lecture in western New York. Reports have since emerged—although as yet unverified—that the would-be assassin had been in contact with agents of Iran, whose supreme leaders have repeatedly called on Muslims to murder Rushdie. Meanwhile U.S. and European diplomats are trying to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Stephen Daisley comments:

Salman Rushdie’s would-be assassin might have been a lone wolf. He might have had no contact with military or intelligence figures. He might never even have set foot in Tehran. But be in no doubt: he acted, in effect, as an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the terms of the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989, Rushdie “and all those involved in [his novel The Satanic Verses’s] publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death.” Khomeini urged “brave Muslims to kill them quickly wherever they find them so that no one ever again would dare to insult the sanctities of Muslims,” adding: “anyone killed while trying to execute Rushdie would, God willing, be a martyr.”

An American citizen has been the victim of an attempted assassination on American soil by, it appears, another American after decades of the Iranian supreme leader agitating for his murder. No country that is serious about its national security, to say nothing of its national self-worth, can pretend this is some everyday stabbing with no broader political implications.

Those implications relate not only to the attack on Rushdie. . . . In July, a man armed with an AK-47 was arrested outside the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian dissident who was also the intended target of an abduction plot last year orchestrated by an Iranian intelligence agent. The cumulative weight of these outrages should render the new Iran deal dead in the water.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Freedom of Speech, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy