A Report On The Syrian Problem

1935 Words8 Pages
While working on the Syrian problem set in 2015 and 2016, I, like many analysts, was alarmed by the relatively sudden appearance of Chinese military assets off the Syrian coastline in August of 2016. This marked a considerable departure from China’s long-held policy of non-intervention and its predilection for negotiated political solutions in the Middle East.
In August of 2016, the government of China announced its intention to provide personnel training and humanitarian aid to the government of Syria. (Ramani, 2016) The Chinese government has long held a non-interventionist policy in the Middle East, stressing the need to respect national sovereignty. However, in May of 2016, Beijing supported U.N. mediation efforts in Syria. (Chinese Consulate, via Middle East Review of International Affairs) Historically, China has maintained an odd dynamic in its Middle East relations that appears focused on calculated balance. For example, while allying with Russia and Shi’a Iran on the Assad Regime’s side of the Syrian conflict against Sunni militias, China also supplies arms to Sunni Saudi Arabia. (Ramani, 2016)
China has a history of measured intervention in developing nations under the guise of aid and development, particularly in Africa, where its hooks run deep. China worked to resolve the Darfur conflict in Sudan, albeit after arming the Khartoum government against the Darfur tribes while receiving 40 percent of Sudan’s oil exports in 2007 (Herbst, 2008).
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