0556 GMT May 26, 2022
In an article published on Friday, The Hill made a reference to Syria’s announcement, saying it coincided with a joint statement by China and the Persian Gulf Arab states’ council calling for a strategic partnership that would include an eventual free trade area, Press TV reported.
The article said Washington’s primary concern in the Middle East appears to be a revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the 2015 Iran agreement, which was abandoned by the US in 2018 under former US president Donald Trump’s administration.
“Beyond reaching a renewed nuclear arrangement with Iran, the Biden administration has made it clear that East Asia and Europe are its priority concerns. And both China and regional actors have not failed to take notice,” it said.
The Hill further said the Persian Gulf Arab states are increasingly uneasy about America’s reliability and will be even more so if Washington reaches an agreement with Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA to rejoin the deal.
The Biden administration must cease to signal that the Middle East somehow has become a lower priority for the United States, the article said, insisting that China’s increasing influence in the Middle East will have “serious repercussions” for America’s national security.
On January 12, Syria officially joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), months after President Bashar al-Assad met with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing, where they discussed Syria’s gaining membership in the BRI.
The deal will help Syria expand its cooperation with China and other countries and rebuild itself in the aftermath of a decade-long war that was coupled with US-led economic sanctions. It will also enable Damascus to circumvent the effects of harsh US sanctions on the country, particularly the so-called “Caesar Act” sanctions.
“China can play an important role in weakening the impact of the Caesar sanctions,” Joshua Landis, head of the Middle East department at the University of Oklahoma, has said in an interview with The Cradle.
“In Iran, China has done this,” Landis explained. “Iran’s oil exports, which were devastated by sanctions, have begun to grow again, largely because China is purchasing Iranian oil again. China is the workshop of the world so it can supply most of the goods that Syria needs.”