Ahmed Aboudouh

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Journalists protest in support of Palestinians in front of the Egypt Journalists Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, on December 13, 2023. (Photo by Mahmoud Elkhwas/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

So far, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) operation in Rafah remains ‘ limited’, meaning it is still under the threshold of a major military incursion like the previous bloody assaults on Jabaliya, Gaza City, and Khan Younis.

This should be good news for Egypt’s security. However, the reality is far from it. The operation, launched on 7 May, creates two major threats for Egypt.

Refugees

The first is a potential mass exodus of Palestinian refugees into Sinai. For Egypt, this has been a ‘ red line’ since the start of the war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government seems to take Cairo’s concerns seriously.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man in Tehran holds a local newspaper reporting on its front page the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, signed in Beijing on 11 March 2023. Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images.

The drone and missile attacks launched by Iran against Israel on 13 April, and the subsequent Israeli response, have thrown into doubt the stability of the Saudi–Iran reconciliation facilitated by China last year.

The attacks have dramatically altered the strategic landscape, casting uncertainty over regional security and testing China’s recently earned reputation as a credible mediator.

After the Iranian drone attack, Beijing promptly initiated emergency phone diplomacy to prevent the Saudi–Iran agreement from being undermined by the volatile situation. Following calls with his Saudi and Iranian counterparts, Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, applauded ’ Iran’s stress on not targeting regional and neighbouring countries’ – a tacit reference to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (L) being welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) in Beijing, China on February 14, 2023. (Photo by Presidency of Iran / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A Reuters report on 26 January claimed that China recently attempted to nudge Iran into reining in Houthi attacks against civilian ships in the Red Sea.

However, the report created confusion about precisely what Beijing’s demands were.
The prevailing narrative has been that China asked Iran to refrain from impeding international shipping, and to abandon its strategy of linking such attacks to the war in Gaza. However, this is misleading.

Chinese interests only

China may indeed have pressed Iran in the past weeks. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters, ‘China has been making active efforts to ease tensions in the Red Sea from the very beginning.’…  Seguir leyendo »

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping after a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 14, 2023. (Photo by Jade Gao - Pool/Getty Images)

China’s position on the war in Gaza is controversial and ambiguous to many observers. Beijing has criticized Israel’s blanket bombardment of civilians and condemned violations of international law.

President Xi Jinping waited until after the Third Belt and Road Forum to comment on the crisis, reiterating China’s long-held position that a two-state solution should be implemented and calling for a humanitarian corridor to allow aid into the besieged Gaza Strip.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi went further, describing Israel’s bombardment of civilians in Gaza as actions that ‘ have gone beyond the scope of self-defence’. At the same time, Beijing avoided condemning Hamas’s atrocities against civilians.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Israeli delegation attend a UNESCO meeting in Riyadh. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

At the G20 summit President Joe Biden announced that India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), together with Israel, France, Germany, Italy and the US, want to create an ‘India– Middle East–Europe Corridor’ (IMEC).

This rail and shipping route would include advanced fibre optics, clean hydrogen pipelines and economic zones stretching from India, through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, to Piraeus Port in Greece.

A working group will lay out timetables, financing plans and projects in the next two months. If it materializes, the grandiose project could create a new dimension of economic integration between the Middle East, South Asia and Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »