Iran-China Deal : Disaster for Middle East, Mourning in Pakistan - Map of Middle East

Recently leaked information about Iran-China Deal is nothing but a disaster for the entire Middle-East. Some Pakistani Journalists were having wet dreams and presenting a rosy picture about Pakistan’s future without any analysis, however as per the close sources, the scene is like mourning in Pakistan, fearing about future prospects for Pakistan.

The Deal

The agreement between Beijing and Tehran, which is not yet finalized, will see China invest a total of $400bn in banking, transport, defence and development sectors in Iran. In exchange, Beijing expects to receive a regular, and heavily discounted, supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years. The deal is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that aims to extend his country’s economic and strategic influence across Eurasia.

On July 16, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Jask Port would become the country’s main oil loading point. By placing a greater focus on the development of the two strategic ports of Jask and Chabahar, Iran is attempting to shift its geostrategic focus from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. By placing a greater focus on the development of the two strategic ports of Jask and Chabahar, Iran is attempting to shift its geostrategic focus from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman. This would allow Tehran to avoid the tense Persian Gulf region, reduces the journey distance for oil tankers shipping Iranian oil, and also enables Tehran to close the Strait of Hormuz when needed.

Geography of Middle East

In order to undertand the Iran-China Deal, it is important to know the geography of the area.

In the below map, you can see that Middle East Countries are situated on the either sides of Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Take an example of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE. 90% of the Oil from these countries passes through Strait of Hormuz.

Iran-China Deal : Disaster for Middle East, Mourning in Pakistan - Map of Middle East
Iran-China Deal : Disaster for Middle East, Mourning in Pakistan – Map of Middle East

Now look at the Red Sea side. Look at the locations of Egypt, Etria, Sudan. Entire Oil produce from Etria and Sudan passes through Gulf of Aden.

Now look at the Map of Saudi Arabia. It has 2 routes. One via the Persian Gulf and the other via the Red Sea.

Now look at the location of Djibouti. It sits at the mouth of Gulf of Aden.

There will be presence of China under Iran Deal in future in Iranian Island in the Strait of Hormuz with its Naval Base. Also there will be presence of a Chinese Naval base in Djibouti which is at the mouth of Red Sea in Gulf of Aden. The presence of Chinese Naval forces in Djibouti AND Strait of Hormuz means every ship passing from these 2 points is under survellience of Chinese Navy and All the Gulf Countries are at the mercy of China. The day they have differences with China and China decides to disrupt their supply of Oil, None of these Gulf nations are capable with a credible Navy to deter China from doing that. Only credible force of United States that was stationed in the region is also being slowly withdrawn. One main reason being non-sharing of costs by the Gulf Nations for placing US forces in the Gulf.

Iran-China Deal Challenges United States

Both China and Iran have global and regional ambitions, both have confrontational relationships with the United States, and there is a security component to the agreement. The military aspect of the agreement concerns not only the United States but all the countries in the Middle East.

China’s growing influence in East Asia and Africa has challenged U.S. interests, and the Middle East is the next battlefield on which Beijing can challenge U.S. through Iran.

While there are only three months left before the 2020 U.S. presidential election, closer scrutiny of the new Iran-China strategic partnership would now ensure electoral victory for President Trump and a Republican victory. That’s because the China-Iran strategic partnership proves that the Trump administration’s good work against China needs to continue even after first term of President Trump and should also be carried on during his second term. President Trump has been able to bring jobs back from China to the United States which Democrats had clearly told that it was an impossible task. With tough actions by President Trump, China joining the Axis of Evil Countries, this Axis needs to be broken.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, and the subsequent introduction of the maximum pressure policy, was the last effort by the U.S. government to halt Iran’s growing influence in the region. Although this policy has hit Iran’s economy hard, it has not been able to change the country’s ambitious regional and military policies yet.

Hard-liners in Tehran have called for closer ties to China for years. Especially after Soleimani killing, Iran started feeling helpless.

Related Article Iran Threatens Tel Aviv, US bases in Middle East after killing of Soleimani

The new deal between Beijing and Tehran includes plans for China to develop several ports in Iran, such as the Bandar-e-Jask port which is strategically situated to the east of the Strait of Hormoz. This is significant as it gives Beijing control over one of the seven key maritime chokepoints in the world. This can potentially undermine the US naval dominance in the Middle East, as having a foothold in Bandar-e-Jask would not only allow China to monitor the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain, but together with a presence in Gwadar and Djibouti ports, it would be dangerous for United States, and all Arab Nations whose all trade passes through these routes.

Opposition to Iran-China Deal within Iran

The Iran-China deal may be futuristic and nothing may happen in next few months or even a year. However, the agreement can be an economic lifeline for Iran, saving its sanctions-hit, cash-strapped economy by ensuring the sale of its oil and gas to China. In addition, Iran will be able to use its strategic ties with China as a bargaining chip in any possible future negotiations with the West by taking advantage of its ability to expand China’s footprint in the Persian Gulf. By the end of 2020, sanctions against Iran may come to end, and going by the Chinese Debt trap Diplomacy in poor African nations, China has secured some loyal votes at United Nations coupled with its own VETO Power.

Related Article Chinese Debt Trap Diplomacy – The African Modus Operandi

As per recent reports Iran has crossed the figure of 20000 officially dead due to Chinese Coronavirus. As per sources real figures are much higher with over 45000 Iranians dead due to Chinese Coronavirus. However, instead of taking action against the murderer China, Iran is entering into deal with China. Why? It is because Iran knows that China is in a position to VETO all resolutions at the United Nations and has some good number of votes that will prevent any sanctions against Iran. This will help the sanctions-hit, cash-strapped Iran to get valuable foreign exchange. However those families who have lost their loved ones to the Chinese Coronavirus are very much against China.

Many experts, conservative lawmakers, and even former officials, such as Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, voiced their opposition and accused the government of hiding the details surrounding the agreement.

Many Iranians are suspicious about the China-Iran agreement and have accused the government of selling the country’s assets on the cheap. Some of them went even further and suggested the pact will allow China to plunder the country’s resources with the blessing of the regime, relinquish the country’s sovereignty, and turn Iran into a client-state for China. This popular sentiment cannot be ignored. In practice, Iran may slow-roll, renegotiate, or even cancel projects agreed upon with China, especially if it manages to reestablish commercial relations with the West. However for the time being Iran has got a bargaining Chip.

Shortly after, an 18-page draft text was leaked on social media. Some experts claimed that it is the general framework that both sides are negotiating. The document reflects a desire to promote the strategic partnership between Iran and China not only in areas that cover the economy, energy, finance, trade, tourism, infrastructure, and communication sectors, but also other domains such as security, defence, military, and intelligence.

Benefits for China from Iran-China Deal

For China, the pact can help guarantee its energy security. The Persian Gulf supplies more than half of China’s energy needs.For China, the pact can help guarantee its energy security. The Persian Gulf supplies more than half of China’s energy needs. Thus, securing freedom of navigation through the Persian Gulf is of great importance for China. Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally, has now become the top supplier of crude oil to China, as Chinese imports from the kingdom in May set a new record of 2.16 million barrels per day. This dependence is at odds with China’s general policy of diversifying its energy sources and not being reliant on one supplier. (China’s other Arab oil suppliers in the Persian Gulf region have close security ties with the United States.)

China fears that as the trade war between the two countries intensifies, the United States may put pressure on those countries not to supply Beijing with the energy it needs. A comprehensive strategic partnership with Iran is both a hedge and an insurance policy; it can provide China with a guaranteed and discounted source of energy.

Chinese strategy aims to draw the region into China’s economic orbit and to secure reliable sources of oil. It relies on the BRI model of infrastructure investment and alleged economic development, which includes a heavy emphasis on the construction of ports and railways and burden the host country with large economic debt following corrupt practices of bringing in their own raw material and labor, with no benefits to the local labor and no respite from the unemployment to locals. China’s conviction appears to be that refocusing the Middle East’s attention toward economic development will save China from facing Economic Sanctions and suits for compensation for killing 783,000 Civilians worldwide with Chinese Corona Virus.

The bilateral Iran-China deal provides China with an opportunity to participate in the development of this port. China will be able to add Jask to its network of strategic hubs in the region. According to this plan, regional industrial parks developed by Chinese companies in some Persian Gulf countries will link up to ports where China has a strong presence. This interconnected network of industrial parks and ports can further challenge the United States’ dominant position in the region surrounding the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz.

Impact of China-Iran deal on Turkey.

In our previous article Neo-Ottoman Dream – End Of Turkey And Erdogan we have already mentioned in details that Turkey under Erdogan plans to establish Neo-Ottoman Empire.

Turkey and Iran are regional rivals with contrasting agendas, visions, and interests. Syria is the most visible example of the rivalry between the two countries; Ankara chose to support the Syrian people while Tehran opted to back Bashar al Assad’s regime.

In Iraq, Tehran blocks further economic and security cooperation between Turkey and Iraq and prevents Ankara’s economic and security interests from surpassing northern Iraq.

When it comes to the Gulf, although the Saudi-led blockade against Qatar in 2017 forced Doha and Ankara to draw closer to Iran, Tehran is not happy with the Turkish military presence in the Gulf.

In Libya, there has been increasing evidence of Iran’s support towards its allies (Assad and Russia) who support the warlord Khalifa Haftar against the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) backed by Turkey.

Related Article Haftar blames Turkey for helping rivals GNA invade Gharyan city: Orders forces to attack Turkish ships and bans flights to Turkey

In this context, there are three things concerning the Iran-China pact that might sound an alarm in Ankara. First is the question over how Iran is going to use the money it will receive from Beijing.

The strategic agreement will allow Tehran to circumvent US sanctions allowing it access to a large basket of funds in return for the oil it sends to China. Will Tehran choose to use the money to fund its malicious regional activities and proxies, or help its own people? This will complicate Ankara’s mission in places like Syria, Iraq, and possibly Libya, too.

Second, given the proposed cooperation between Iran and China in the defence industry – there is speculation that a UN arms embargo on Iran may expire in October – things could become much more challenging for Turkey.

Iran already supplies its proxies, IRGC franchises, and allies with a variety of weapons including anti-tank weapons, anti-ship weapons, anti-air weapons, drones, Katyusha rocket launchers, and even ballistic missiles. Hezbollah, for instance, has Iranian made ballistic missiles that can reach as far as Iraq, Jordan, and the Sinai in Egypt.

The proliferation of Iranian-made weapons with the help of China would constitute a bigger security risk for Ankara. During the last few years, Tehran has aided Ankara’s foes in Syria, Iraq, and Libya with weapons.

Since 2016, Turkey has noticed an increase in Iranian-made weapons possessed by the PKK, an organisation recognised as terrorist by Turkey, the US and the EU.

In Syria, the situation was no different.

During the Olive Branch Operation in Afrin in January 2018, Turkey seized a huge cache of Iranian-made weapons that belong to the YPG, the Syrian branch of the PKK terror organisation. Recently, Iran pledged to equip the Assad regime with anti-air defence systems.

Another worrisome issue for Turkey would be Iranian-Chinese military cooperation. Some have suggested that Tehran and Beijing are negotiating the possibility of a mega arms deal that would boost Iran’s conventional military capabilities in an unprecedented way, particularly since the establishment of the Islamic Republic.

This development, coupled with several other factors, such as advancing its long-range ballistic missile capabilities, could heighten Ankara’s threat perception.

The lack of advanced conventional capabilities in Iran and the NATO defensive umbrella, have always boosted Ankara’s confidence, all the while diluting any sense of a security threat emanating from Iran.

Turkey and China are at odds on several regional issues. Although Beijing tends to portray its involvement in the region as purely neutral and of an economic nature, the last few years have uncovered otherwise.

China, for example, backed the Assad regime against its people by using its veto at the UN security council 10 times between 2011 and 2020. This is 66.6 percent of the Chinese vetoes used since the People’s Republic of China became a permanent UN Security Council member on 25 October 1971.

These vetoes in favour of the Syrian regime, have resulted in emboldening Assad, increasing the death toll of civilians, protecting him against punishment for using chemical weapons, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the burden of refugees, and the security risks towards Turkey.

China has actively blocked aid from reaching Syrian refugees and internally displaced people through neighbouring borders. The most recent case of vetoing cross-border aid came last month where Beijing used it twice.

Moreover, Chinese weapons have been increasingly used by several countries and militia groups against Turkey, its interests, and allies.

On the Libyan front, Haftar relied heavily on advanced Chinese weapons, such as Wing Loong-2 drone versus the Turkish backed UN-recognised GNA. An Iran-China pact that would empower Beijing in the region, would only fortify this trend and increase the regional threats coming from China.

Iran-China Deal : Contrary to the Turkish Imperialism and Dream of Neo-Ottoman Empire
Iran-China Deal : Contrary to the Turkish Imperialism and Dream of Neo-Ottoman Empire

Given that Turkey shares its border with Iran, a Strong Iran is contrary to the Turkish Dream of Neo-Ottoman Empire and in fact flushed out all the wet dreams Turkey had thought of about the region by 2050.

Iran-China Deal : Contrary to the Turkish Dream of Neo-Ottoman Empire by 2050
Iran-China Deal : Contrary to the Turkish Dream of Neo-Ottoman Empire by 2050

Mourning in Pakistan after Iran-China Deal

The $400 billion worth of projects purportedly envisioned would represent China’s largest agreement to date for any single country in the BRI, dwarfing the next biggest investment of $62 billion planned as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. They are said to include railways, ports, subways, oil and gas production, telecommunications, manufacturing, and military cooperation. In return, Iran has apparently agreed to provide China with heavily discounted oil.

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As per sources in Pakistan, there was great resentment and mourning internally in Pakistan as soon as the news of Iran-China deal of $400 Billion came out. A major portion of the CPEC passes through Pakistan. Pakistan has committed Genocide of its Baloch, Sindhi and Mohajirs in order to get control of the natural resources in the region of Balochistan and Sindhudesh and serve them in platter to its Chinese Masters. Not only this, Pakistan had to sell its daughters to China in lieu of payments for CPEC penalties and abducted Baloch, Mohajirs, Sindhis, Pashtuns and killed them for Organ Harvesting. Pakistan gave away its hundreds of daughters under the garb of marriage as brides to Han Chinese. Pakistan had to sell Donkeys to survive. What did Pakistan get in return? Pakistan got only punture shops on the either side of the CPEC with Total Chinese Investment of $62 Billion and that too Chinese bring their own engineers and labour for these projects and locals get only the low cleaning Job. While the Chinese Debt on Pakistan is mounting and unable to pay even the interest to the Chinese, as per locals, Pakistan feels that it is raped cheaply by China for a meagre amount of $62 Billion while Iran took away lion’s share of $400 Billion.

Related Article Quit Sindh Movement : SindhuDesh Freedom Fighters Tell Punjabis to Leave Sindhudesh

However Pakistani’s are consoling themselves that presence of China will be a deterrance for India on its Easter Border. Pakistan however forgets that India neither in the past or in future intends to invade Pakistan. Pakistan will itself break under its own weight due to Human Rights Abuses committed by Punjabi Pakistan Army on Baloch, Mohajirs, Sindhis, Pashtuns, Shias, Ahamadiya, Hazara, Gilgit-Baltistanis and Kashmiris.

Related Article Punjab Blocks Sindh’s Water, Sindh Blocks Ports for Punjab: Sindhudesh Freedom Fighters

Once Balochistan and Sindhudesh become Independent Nations, this $62 Billion Loan will have to be paid by Pakistani Punjab and will not be cared by Balochistan or Sindhudesh or India once Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir join back India.

Related Article Balochistan Commemorates 2019 Gwadar Attack

China now has the chance to connect Chabahar Port to Gwadar in Pakistan. Pakistanis are day dreaming that China will favor Gwadar Port over Chabahar port. While China will not like to use Gwadar since the CPEC route via Balochistan is prone to attacks by Freedom Fighters any time and Pakistan failed to provide security. Pakistan Army men are themselves being slaughtered on a daily basis in Balochistan, how can they provide security to China. As per experts, lack of security on CPEC will make Gwadar Port unviable as no one can guess if the cargo will safely reach its end users when passing through Balochistan or Sindhudesh.

Given the deal is contrary to interests of Turkey, Pakistan’s new found daddy, It will be interesting to see reaction from Turkey when they see Pakistan singing love songs with Iran.

Furthermore in our previous article Pakistan to Face Multi-Billion-Dollar Penalty over stalled Iran Pakistan Gas Pipeline we had covered that while Iran has finished the gas pipeline in Iran side, Pakistan did not even start the project because of looming bankruptcy. Question arises, who will fund it now? Will Pakistan again take loans from China and China will complete the project using Chinese material and Chinese labor, with just adding another $5-$6 Billion to Pakistan’s Loan?

Impact on India due to Iran-China Deal

Many Pakistani Journalists in different International News Media are having wet dreams thinking of Indian Losses as if India is going to open a front with China in Middle East.

India has an independent Foreign Policy which is independent of any third country. Indian Foreign Policy is guided by what is right and what is in favor of India. In case United Nations lifts sanctions against India, India has no problem buying Oil from Iran, if India thinks it is in Indian Interests. All Indian Decisions are governed by Indian interest and not to appease anyone else.

Regarding the presence of China in the middle east opening another front for India, the Pakistanis forget the Indian Geography. They forget that in order to reach the Persian Gulf or Djibouti, Chinese Navy will have to pass through Indian Ocean near Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Straits of Malacca.

Straits of Malacca is a narrow, 890 km (550 mi) stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula (Peninsular Malaysia) and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. As the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, it is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world.

Iran-China Deal : Disaster for Middle East, Mourning in Pakistan - Map of Southern Asia
Iran-China Deal : Disaster for Middle East, Mourning in Pakistan – Map of Southern Asia

Pakistani Journalists forget that If there is a war and China blocks Indian access to Persian Gulf or Gulf of Aden, India can block China’s access to Indian Occean and cut the Chinese supply lines from the Straits of Malacca.

Map of Southern Asia showing Malacca Strait
Map of Southern Asia showing Malacca Strait

Further if the situation so develops that China blocks Indian Access to Gulf Nations, that will be an extreme situation only during a World War and as the name suggests, World War III will not be for India alone to fight. All Indian Allies in South East Asia will also join in blocking Chinese Navy in an all out attack.

Hence when sold out Media houses like Al Jazeera posts Anti-India propaganda in What the new Iran-China partnership means for the region or scmp writes How the China-Iran economic and security deal endangers India’s strategic interests in the Middle East , these are nothing by Chinese paid media propaganda.

Will it be a smooth ride for Iran-China Deal? Challenges Ahead

Tensions have soared due to sabotage of ships anchored off the UAE, Britain’s seizure of a supertanker transporting Iranian oil into the Mediterranean, Iranian detention of a British vessel in retaliation, and the deployment by the US and Europe of naval vessels to accompany ships through the Strait of Hormuz.

It would be a mistake to assume that all will go smoothly with the China-Iran agreement. Implementation will face considerable challenges that neither country may fully appreciate.

The Middle East’s fierce rivalries and active conflicts will also present challenges. Beijing certainly wants to avoid the kind of military entanglements. Yet history suggests that the economic, political, and military interests of countries are inexorably intertwined. As its economic interests in the Middle East grow, China will find it increasingly difficult to remain neutral on political and security questions in a region where the principal actors expect great powers to take their side.

This puts China in a quandary. It wants to build a strategic relationship with Iran even as it cultivates closer ties with key regional players Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel. Yet these countries view Iran as an existential threat, and China risks alienating them if it empowers their archrival.

In 2018, China’s combined trade with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel was three and half times greater than its trade with Iran ($123 billion versus $35 billion). China that is already under pressure from many countries that have boycott Chinese products because of China spreading Chinese Coronavirus worldwide killing over 783,000 civilians worldwide. Risks losing trade from other Gulf Nations who will never want Iran to become strong.

China’s interest in sustaining good relationships with the Arab Gulf monarchies and Israel raises the intriguing question of whether it is prepared to use its prospective investments in Iran as leverage to curb Iranian policies that threaten others in the region, especially the support for Iranian proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria. This is unlikely. The size of this prospective deal of $400 Billion and strategic partnership with Iran may well cause the Gulf monarchies and Israel to conclude that China has now decisively tilted in the direction of their nemesis.

Iran is a Shia dominant country. While other countries including Saudi, UAE and others are Sunni Dominant Nations which had always been at odds with each other. None of the Middle East countries will want Iran to become militarily strong. A strong Iran would mean more Chinese weapons in the hands of Terrorists the same other Gulf countries are fighting against.

As the world’s largest oil importer since 2017, China is increasingly dependent on Middle Eastern energy. Last year, Saudi Arabia became China’s top supplier of oil. And three Middle Eastern countries—Iraq, the UAE, and Iran—are also among the largest suppliers.

Oil dependence brings with it exposure to the region’s political volatility. A vivid example of this axiom is a suspected Iranian attack last September against the Abqaiq and Khurais oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia which temporarily took 5 percent of global oil production offline and caused oil prices to spike by 15 percent.

What China sees as a win-win may be interpreted by countries in the region as playing both sides.

Thus far, Beijing has managed to enjoy positive and growing ties with the Gulf monarchies, Israel, and Iran. Each of them see tremendous value in Chinese investment and know-how. But the region’s reaction to the massive scope of investments in the potential China-Iran agreement may force China to either scale back its planned engagement with Iran or enter unchartered waters and use traditional statecraft to more actively address Gulf Arab and Israeli concerns with Iranian policies. It will be reluctant to acknowledge that it faces such a choice, but the harsh realities of the Middle East may soon make that clear.

Points to Ponder

Is the Iran-China deal a pass to China to get away with human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in China? Shouldn’t these countries then stop commenting on what other countries do?

China has killed over 783,000 Civilians worldwide with Chinese Corona Virus. 42,000 Iranians have died due to Chinese Bio-Terrorism. Is Iran rewarding China for killing over 42,000 Iranians and diverting public attention from the protests for democracy and against price rise that had gripped Iran during 2019?

What will happen to the deal if the protests start again and this time are successful in establishing Democracy in Iran?

Does Pakistan thinks that China will finance its war with India? China will make sure Pakistan pays for every bullet used and will also charge Interest on it.

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