The Middle East has long been a regional battlefield of competing interests among the great powers. In the current international environment, however, the United States, Russia, and to a lesser extent China, all have multiple interests in the region.
At an international symposium organized by the Carnegie Middle East Center and aired in two parts on Al Jazeera English’s Inside Story, Carnegie’s Jessica Mathews, Dmitri Trenin, and Minxin Pei spoke about international perspectives on the Middle East. Abdlatif Al-Hamad, director of the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Carnegie Middle East Center, gave the opening speech.
Al-Hamad discussed three main challenges facing development in the Arab world, including:
Mathews and Pei suggested that the United States and China had differing views on the role their governments should play in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process:
Trenin reviewed Russia's political and economic situation, arguing that Moscow’s interest in the Middle East is limited. Russia’s regional focus is instead on the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Pei described China's interest in the region as primarily economic. He argued that China has a network of good relations with all parties in the Middle East, and considers the region to be a vital source of oil and gas.
Iran’s nuclear ambitions have proven to be a source of tension between the United States, Russia, and China.
The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.
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