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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchChina’s Evolving Conflict Mediation in the Middle East

China’s Evolving Conflict Mediation in the Middle East

Author: Jesse Marks

Affiliation: Edelman Global Advisory, Stimson Center’s China Program (non-resident fellow), former advisor for Middle East Policy in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense (2020-2022)

Organization/Publisher: Middle East Institute 

Date/Place: March 25, 2022/USA

Type of Literature: Article 

Word Count: 2005


Keywords: China, Middle East, Conflict, Africa, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Mediation


The article discusses China’s mediation in the Middle East and Africa conflicts, specifically Sudan, Libya, and Syria. The article is divided into three sections. Section one talks about the evolved approach of China’s mediation, that China’s strategy is seeking control over conflicts favorable to its interests. Although China isn’t trying to solve conflicts but is just following its interests globally, it has transitioned from conflict avoider to conflict manager. This “Going Global” tactic has affected Beijing in a dangerous way, targeting regions that contain rich resources such as Sudan. The second section is divided into three parts. Part one covers Sudan, and describes the intelligent movement China has done in the Darfur conflict. China played a humanitarian role in the conflict by letting Sudan’s government end the conflict by agreement, without China losing its alliance with the Omar al-Bashir regime. The conflict was ended by collaboration between the Chinese peacekeepers, African Union, and the modest western military. Part two covers Libya, where the civil war has led China to evacuate its people to safer places, and which experience has led China to develop several elements in its strategy including deploying the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to secure its foreign investments. Part three is Syria, where China is also playing the role of ‘social reformer’ by protecting its interests in Syria and what China can gain from it. China has supported all the laws that protect the human rights of Syrians, but at the same time it has been trying to find a middle ground to prevent the possibility of changing the Syrian system, so it has started to support rules that can protect the Syrian system and civilian rights at the same time. Furthermore, China again played smartly by encouraging the Arab world to intervene in the Syrian conflict for better solutions. The third section is the conclusion, which points out that China is new in the field of ‘Middle East conflict mediation’, and that what China experienced and is experiencing has let it develop its strategies and learn from its mistakes to form better relations with these foreign regions. As China is gaining more confidence in the mediation field, the ME and Africa see Beijing as a country assertively seeking its interests. 

By: Sohaila Oraby, CIGA Research Intern



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