Turkish secularism on the ropes. “A Secular Turkish City Feels Islam’s Pulse Beating Stronger, Causing Divisions,” by Sabrina Tavernise for the New York Times, with thanks to Steve:
DENIZLI, Turkey — The little red prayer book was handed out in a public primary school here in western Turkey in early May. It was small enough to fit in a pocket, but it carried a big message: Pray in the Muslim way. Get others to pray, too.“The message was clear to me,” said a retired civil servant, whose 13-year-old son, a student at the Yesilkoy Ibrahim Cengiz school, received the book. “This is not something that should be distributed in schools.”
This leafy, liberal city would seem like one of the least likely places to allow Islam to permeate public life. But for some residents, the book is part of a subtle shift toward increasingly public religiosity that has gone hand in hand with the ascent of the party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The phenomenon is complex. The party has not ordered changes, but sets examples through a growing network of observant Muslim teachers and public servants hired since it came to power in 2002.
The shift goes to the heart of the question that has gripped this country for the past two months: As the party settles more deeply into the bureaucracy, will it leave its Islamic roots in the past and build a future that includes secular Turks, or will it impose its religion more rigorously?
“In a very quiet, deep way, you can sense an Islamization,” said Bedrettin Usanmaz, a jewelry shop owner in Denizli. “They’re not after rapid change. They’re investing for 50 years ahead.”
At the heart of the issue is a debate about the fundamental nature of Islam and its role in building an equitable society. Turks like Mr. Zeybekci contend that their country has come a long way since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s secular revolution in 1923, and that it no longer needs to enforce controls like preventing women from wearing head scarves in public buildings. “It’s like locking everybody in a stadium, when you know that only three are thieves,” Mr. Zeybekci said, in his office, which has pictures of Mr. Erdogan and Ataturk.
But secular Turks contend that Islam will always seek more space in people’s lives, and therefore should be reined in. They look to the military as secularism’s final defender.
“Islam is not like other religions,” said Kadim Yildirim, a history teacher in Denizli from an opposition labor union. “It influences every part of your life, even your bedroom.”…
According to a report to Parliament by the education minister, 836 people from the government’s Religious Affairs Directorate have been transferred to the ministry’s offices during Mr. Erdogan’s tenure. That has also led to changes in the habits of the bureaucracy. In Denizli, the lunchroom in the local Ministry of Education no longer serves food during Ramadan, based on an assumption that all workers are observing the religious fast, employees said….
All education material, once vetted centrally, is now checked in a far looser fashion, according to one senior Ministry of Education official in Ankara, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was afraid for his job. A point system to rate textbooks has been loosened. The red prayer book, illustrated with pictures of small children praying, would probably not have been distributed in past years.
It is still unclear where today’s changes will lead the country. Mr. Oran says that although the ideology of Mr. Erdogan and his allies “is inevitably Islam,” they are workers and tradesmen who are ultimately motivated by profit. “They are very rapidly becoming bourgeois.”
Mr. Yildirim draws hope from a recent exchange among his students he overheard. One posed a question: If you were rowing a boat with only one extra seat and passed by a deserted island with the Prophet Muhammad and Ataturk, whom would you save?
Another answered: “Ataturk is resourceful. He can save himself. Take Muhammad.”
So evidently Muhammad can’t save himself. He has to be zealously looked after, cf. Cartoon Rage, Pope Rage, etc
What’s ailing contemporary Middle East studies? A symposium earlier this month at Stanford University provided a clue.
A paranoid fixation on imagined American and Israeli “empire”; the refusal to accept legitimate criticism; an insulated, elitist worldview; an inability to employ clear, jargon-free English; and a self-defeating hostility towards the West: these vices and more were made clear at “The State of Middle East Studies: Knowledge Production in an Age of Empire.”
Professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature at Columbia University Hamid Dabashi captured the symposium’s theme by asserting that the “Middle East is under U.S./Israeli imperial domination” and that America is an “empire without hegemony,” engaged in a “monopolar imperial project.”
Yet no one defined this “empire” or “imperialism.” Nor did attendees learn what events in the Muslim world precipitated a more expansive U.S. foreign policy in the region after Sept. 11, 2001, or why Israel might have legitimate concerns about its bellicose neighbors.
Only Nur Yalman, professor of social anthropology and Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University, made reference to Islamic terrorism. He also reported on the atmosphere of political unease in both Egypt and Turkey from whence he had just returned.
Also popular was equating criticism of Middle East studies with a U.S./Israeli/Jewish plot. Dabashi condemned Middle East scholar and critic Martin Kramer, calling his book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America, an agent of “U.S. and Israeli intelligence.” Yalman bemoaned a speech Kramer gave last year on the relatively stable geopolitical situation of Jews today, implying that such a condition represented a threat to Muslims. Dabashi denounced David Horowitz, Stanley Kurtz, Daniel Pipes, and Campus Watch for, as he put it, “helping Bush in his crusading war against Islamic terrorism.”
Dabashi also singled out Stanford’s Hoover Institution, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, accusing them of acting, horror of horrors, in “the service of national security.” He was particularly aggrieved that with the ascendance of these think tanks, Middle East studies were no longer under the strict purview of the “academies.” He didn’t mention that higher education’s failure to adequately address the subject has been the cause of this evolution.
The late Columbia University English and comparative literature professor Edward Said was the undisputed godfather of the day, with countless references to his theories on post-colonialism and Orientalism. Like Said, several speakers rejected what they saw as Western condescension and hostility towards the Muslim world. Yet it was they who seemed mired in antagonism.
Discussion about the plight of women in the Muslim world was marred by anti-Western sentiment. Professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Minoo Moallem, dismissed such concerns as being part of an “imperialist narrative.”
University of Washington anthropology and law professor Arzoo Osanloo picked up on this theme by decrying “Western, paternalistic attitudes towards Muslim women.” Osanloo was concerned that “Islamic liberalism” would be “obscured by Western involvement,” particularly in Iran.
Osanloo tried to focus on “Islamic feminism,” but her insistence that women had made great strides in post-Islamic revolution Iran through the use of Sharia law was a stretch. It didn’t help that she omitted any reference to the Iranian regimes’ current crackdown, including brutal beatings, on unveiled women and their arrest and detention of Haleh Esfandiari, the Iranian-American director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
Osanloo’s stated desire to “move beyond the binarism of East vs. West” was belied by an attitude of stubborn opposition to everything Western. There was no acknowledgement by any of the women present that Western culture has given them lives that would be the envy of their counterparts in the Middle East.
Similarly, the willful blindness of a group of scholars and students denouncing the West from their positions of power and privilege in the favored surroundings of Stanford University came across as utterly hypocritical.
Hamid Dabashi and Minoo Moallem’s reliance on academic jargon added to the esoteric nature of the proceedings. Schooled on a philosophical foundation of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucoult, and the obsession with semantics over objective reality found therein, both speakers were largely incomprehensible.
Expressions such as “diasphoric cultural mediators,” “amphibian intellectuals,” “contextualization,” “performance of the self as its own other,” the “inability to handle the otherness of the other,” “Eurocentric partriarchy,” “imperialist masculinist,” “gendered Orientalism,” and the obscure statement, “regions are not facts but artifacts,” provide just a sampling.
It was excruciatingly boring at times, and the fact that they read straight from their own work only made it worse. The young man nodding off in his chair during Moallem’s talk was an indication that the audience may not have been entirely engaged.
Thankfully, the other speakers spoke in plain English and Yalman even stated at one point that he was “uneasy with the abstract nature of the conversation.”
Indeed, those concerned with the negative influence such academics may be having on future generations should be comforted by the very real possibility that their students rarely understand a word they’re saying.
Cinnamon Stillwell is Northern California Representative for Campus Watch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arab nations have made a living by using international organizations to do their bidding. The UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are just a few of the bodies who have shown an unequivocal bias towards the Islamic bloc. The UN’s Human Rights Council is the star of the show. In its brief history, it has only found cause to condemn Israel. Many times.
What happens when the tables are turned? Here are two examples from just the past two days.
Monday in Saudi Arabia: “‘We Don’t Need Foreign Groups to Come and Teach Us Human Rights,'” by Raid Qusti for Arab News:
Maj. Gen. Ali Al-Harithy, the director general of prisons, said yesterday that prisoners in the Kingdom were not tortured or beaten on a large scale, and that beatings were “individual cases,” which should not be generalized.Al-Harithy was referring to a report released last week by the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) in Saudi Arabia. “Regulations, directives and the constitution state clearly that there should not be any violations against prisoners. … There are, however, individual mistakes, but that rarely happens. And if it does happen, then prisoner rights are fulfilled by punishing offenders,” he said.
Al-Harithy criticized visits by foreign human rights groups to the Kingdom, which recently included prison visits by Human Rights Watch. “We do not need foreign organizations to come here and teach our sons and daughters human rights. We are obliged to protect human rights by ourselves without anyone coming from outside and implying that we have to care about human rights in ‘the land of humanity’,” he said.
So much for that. Human Rights Watch is only good for condemning Israel.
Tuesday in Iran: “Talks Can Bolster Iraq Sovereignty,” from Iran Daily:
The European Union should make efforts to improve its own human rights situation instead of focusing on conditions in Iran.Reacting to recent statements of the European Union rotating president, Jose Manuel Barroso, who expressed concern over human rights conditions in Iran, Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Barroso’s remarks constitute interference in Iran’s internal affairs, Fars News Agency reported.
“Barroso should better concentrate on social maladies in EU member-states and evident cases of human rights violation in many EU countries” he said.
Hosseini opined that the EU should focus on human rights violation in their secret prisons, the use of European airports for transferring CIA prisoners and violation of the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, particularly Muslims, immigrants and asylum-seekers.
The EU can investigate others, but don’t meddle in our private affairs.
Crossposted from The American Israeli Patriot.
By James Lewis
Unlike a football game, progress in the Arab-Israeli conflict comes in inches, not yards. But in the midst of all the pessimism there is genuine movement on the Gordian Knot of the entire seven decades of struggle: The Arab refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Because that knot is now slightly unraveling under the pressure of the Iranian threat to Sunni Arab nations (which is all Arab nations minus half of Iraq).
With a looming nuclear Iran fifty miles away, the Saudis cannot afford war with Israel. Tehran has already stirred up riots during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and Saudi legitimacy rests on protecting the holy places.
Specifically, the Arab League, led by the Saudis and Jordanians, has now publicly offered to recognize Israel. That offer comes with conditions that make it unworkable on the surface, although it may provide a basis for further negotiation. But the big breakthrough is implicit, as usual in the complex maneuvering characteristic of that part of the world. When the United States recognized Communist China after many years of passionate refusals, all the preliminary negotiations were conducted in secret between Henry Kissinger and Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-lai. Nixon’s public trip to China just put the official stamp on well-established secret understandings. There are now many reports of secret conversations between Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.
Remember that Anwar Sadat was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood after Egypt openly recognized Israel. No other Arab nation dared to follow Sadat’s example. Twenty years later, Yasser Arafat told Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak that he, Arafat, would be assassinated if he agreed with the generous Israeli peace proposal that would have established a Palestinian state. So the peace agreement never occurred. Offering recognition of Israel involves a great personal risk for all the Arab leaders involved. The terrorists are always out there, ready to kill any peace makers.
But the Arabs do not want a nuclear Iran trying to control the holy places of Mecca and Medina, with the ultimate possibility of radioactive fallout drifting across the Persian Gulf. For the Sunnis, Ahmadinejad represents a deviant strain of Islamic heresy, which cannot be allowed to control the two holiest cities of pilgrimage. Saudi preachers make worse denunciations about the Shi’a than they do about the infidels.
The implicit message in the Arab League proposal comes in the very use of the word “Israel” and in the public goal of diplomatic recognition. Tehran and its puppets, Hezb’allah and Hamas, won’t even use the name “Israel” — it’s still the “Zionist entity” for them. In international diplomacy, using a nation’s name is to recognize it implicitly. And the open goal of the Arab proposal is public recognition. You can’t do that unless you are implicitly granting Israel’s right to exist in peace, and you can’t do that unless you are willing to terminate the de facto state of war that has existed since 1948. So this proposal breaks the logjam in public, even while posing unworkable preconditions. Inch by inch.
Israel has publicly rejected the Arab League proposal. But that’s only the cover story. Prime Minister Olmert has also praised the “great wisdom” of Saudi King Abdallah, without giving any details. News leaks of phone conversations between the sides are common.
So — it’s agonizingly slow, but progress. Underneath, there is very likely to be selective intelligence sharing on Iran and the common terrorist threat from Hezb’allah and Al Qaeda. There may be talks about giving Israel overflight permission in any attack on Iranian nuclear facilities — on condition that it be successful. When Israel knocked out Saddam’s nuclear reactor in 1981, the French, who had built the reactor, secretly provided blueprints and work schedules to the Israeli Air Force. When the strike occurred, it had pinpoint accuracy and French technicians were sleeping at home and in no danger. (Surprise!).
Some of that is probably going on right now among the players who do not want an Iranian nuke — which is all of them. Nobody but nobody wants a psychotic regime armed with nukes next door.
So there are grounds for cautious hope. This is a dangerous time. But Arabs have lived with Israel’s nuclear program for decades, and they don’t feel threatened by it. Like America’s nuke program, it is carefully designed never to be used except in extremis. Don’t attack Israel, and Israel will never use its nukes.
That kind of rationality does not apply to Tehran, with its Armageddon martyr complex
If Iran were fifty miles from our shores, even the Denial Demagogues would have to get worried. Ironically, the new threat from Iran has made the Arab world more prepared for peace than ever before.
James Lewis blogs at http://www.dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/.
U.S. Officialdom vs. Middle East Reality
By P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 23, 2007
“U.S. State Department hails
Israel’s geopolitical transformation,” says a recent headline on WorldTribune.com. The article says that “The United States regards the endorsement by
Israel’s major right-wing parties of a unilateral Palestinian state as extremely positive. An outgoing senior Bush administration official said the decision by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank in 2005 marked the end of the nationalist ideology of the ruling Likud Party.”
The outgoing official—Peter Rodman, assistant defense secretary responsible for Pentagon international security affairs from 2001 until February 2007, now with the Brookings Institutions—added that: “This is an extraordinarily positive evolution in Israeli politics.”
But he lamented: “And the Palestinians elect a Hamas government that wants to go back to the 1946 borders or God knows what their position. This is insane and suicidal, literally and figuratively for the Palestinians. This is their choice. Right now, the diplomacy is frustrated because of who is the interlocutor.”
Rodman appears never to have suspected a causal link between Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank in summer 2005—not to mention the previous twelve years of capitulation to and empowerment of Palestinian terror movements—and the election in January 2006 of Hamas, whose main rallying cry was precisely its success in using violence to drive Israel into retreat. Rodman also sees Hamas’s popularity among the Palestinians as a form of baffling insanity instead of connecting it to the obvious growing popularity of jihadism, Islamism, and anti-Israeli hatred and violence in the
Middle East at large.
The article, however, cites another “
U.S. official” as affirming that: “Rodman’s assessment reflected that of most career officers in both the Pentagon and State Department. The official said that during the Bush administration, senior officials urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George Bush to support
Sharon’s plan for a unilateral withdrawal. . . .”
The official is quoted directly as saying that: “The overriding U.S. assessment continues to be that any Israeli withdrawal is a positive development and bolsters
U.S. influence in the Arab world.”
Returning to Rodman, the article cites him as saying that: “the Bush administration has sought to strengthen Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to convince Palestinians to recognize
Israel. . . . He said the United States was ready to pressure
Israel to accept any compromise with the Palestinians.”
One wonders if these officials ever bother with a casual reading of the Israeli press to check if these venerable orthodoxies are holding water. Just this weekend, for instance, they could have read “Senior IDF officer confirms Iran training militants in
Gaza” and found out that:
Southern Command Major General Yoav Galant has confirmed that Iranian terror and guerrilla experts are in the Gaza Strip training Palestinian terror organizations. Galant says the Iranians are the source of most of the know-how coming to the West Bank, Lebanon and
Iraq on the use of land mines, explosives and anti-tank missiles.
…Galant said terrorists move freely between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and from there to Syria, Lebanon and
Iran for training. “Iranians also come to
Gaza to inspect the situation and hold training exercises,” he said.
Galant contends that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of [Mahmoud Abbas’s] Fatah, has already become an Iranian organization.….
Galant said he believes a large number of Iranian terror experts are operating in the Gaza Strip, receiving know-how, money and equipment from abroad, mainly from Iran, to carry out attacks on
Galant said Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees are investing major efforts in sending suicide bombers into
Israel. Hamas is not active right now, “but is ready to attack at a moment’s notice.”
He said Hamas smuggled 30 tons of explosives from Sinai to the Gaza Strip last year for use against
Since we know that “any Israeli withdrawal is a positive development and bolsters U.S. influence in the Arab world,” apparently there is nothing here for
U.S. officials to be perturbed about. So probably they also would not be much interested in “Gaza a ‘no-go’ zone for journalists since BBC reporter’s kidnapping,” which reports that: “The foreign press corps has abandoned the Gaza Strip in the five weeks since the kidnapping of BBC reporter Alan Johnston” and that “some of the smaller groups [in Gaza] with suspected ties to al-Qaida, are trying to emulate the kidnapping of foreigners in Baghdad.”
Masked gunmen on Saturday morning blew up large parts of the American
School in the Gaza Strip after stealing equipment and furniture….
No group claimed responsibility for the predawn attack on the school, but Palestinian Authority security sources said they did not rule out … that it was carried out by a local al-Qaida-linked group….
“This [said the sources] is the only international school in the Gaza Strip and it’s one of the most important academic institutions.”
Last year, unidentified gunmen kidnapped two staff members, one Dutch and the other Australian. The two were later released unharmed. Since then all the teachers have left, leaving the school under exclusive Palestinian control.
No one was injured in the attack, but heavy damage was caused to the building…. The attackers overpowered a number of guards before detonating a series of explosive charges inside the school….
A Fatah spokesman in the
West Bank said the attack was in the context of attempts by “forces of darkness” to turn the Gaza Strip into a Taliban-style country. He added that those behind the attack were also responsible for bombing Internet cafes, theaters and music shops and for assaults on young women in the Gaza Strip.
But, after all, the Likud Party is making progress in abandoning its nationalism, so why worry about details like “Terrorists Launch Seven Rockets at Sderot, Negev”:
Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza fired seven rockets into the Negev Saturday evening and Sunday, injuring several people and damaging a home in Sderot. Six members of a family were treated by emergency services for shock after one of the first rockets slammed into their home, causing extensive damage….
In a joint statement, the Islamic Jihad, the Hamas-controlled Popular Committees and Fatah’s Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the Saturday rocket attacks…. They declared that the barrage was retaliation for an Israeli counter-terrorism operation in Jenin earlier Saturday, in which three PA terrorists were killed—two of Fatah and one of Islamic Jihad.
And “Hamas seeks control of security in
West Bank” informs us that the beneficent trend is spreading:
Having failed to establish a military force in the
West Bank parallel to the one it has in the Gaza Strip, Hamas is instead working to infiltrate its operatives into the official [PA] security branches, a high-ranking officer in the IDF Central Command warned on Thursday….
“If this continues they will eventually take over the security forces,” warned a senior Israeli defense official….
The officer … said Hamas was involved in terrorism “at all of its levels” and that its infiltration of a car bomb into Tel Aviv on [Passover] night with the intention of carrying out an attack was supported by Damascus-based Hamas Khaled Mashaal as well as its local West Bank and
Gaza terror chiefs.
The officer said that after the car-bomb attack attempt, the IDF rebuilt roadblocks that it had removed in the Kalkilya area as part of a gesture by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in December.
These are, to repeat, gleanings from a single weekend. They relate to Gaza and the West Bank from which
Israel has withdrawn fully and partially, respectively. Perhaps officials like those mentioned in the World Tribune article can explain why it should automatically be U.S. policy to push for and applaud Israeli land concessions even when these lead to the further political, military, and ideological empowerment of actors like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaida, Fatah, and Iran, to marked destabilization through increased terrorism and combat, to intensified anti-Israeli and anti-American hatred throughout the Arab/Muslim world as images of the violence are beamed far and wide, and to the descent of Palestinian society into poverty, chaos, and Islamism.
Perhaps these officials can also explain how the other major recent Israeli withdrawal—from southern Lebanon in 2000—was a “positive development” and how the boost in Hezbollah’s popularity and power, and the current crisis in Lebanon that largely stems from that boost, serve U.S. interests.
And perhaps they can disclose the calculus of how many Israeli lives are worth sacrificing to “gestures” to Abbas.
Orthodoxies are hard to question even when they fly so blatantly in the face of facts. Notions like the “road map” and the “two-state solution” are recipes for further aggravating the situation graphically evident in this weekend’s Israeli press; they presume an Arab-Muslim moderacy toward
Israel that does not exist to any significant degree. It makes no sense for the United States to keep fighting the jihadists in other places and keep working, in effect, to strengthen them against the
Middle East’s one solidly democratic, pro-Western outpost—while always encouraging trends of appeasement in the outpost itself.
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Energy-starved China is increasingly involved in the Middle East, meddling in–and, to some extent, manipulating–the Islamist-Israeli conflict to the detriment of the Jewish state and its chief ally and supporter, the United States.
The chief stratetgist is Beijing’s top Arabic-speaking diplomat and special envoy to the region, Sun Bigan.
On Friday, he called on the Palestinians to release captured Israeli soldiers to make way for the resumption of talks and build momentum towards peace in the region. Sun made his comments following a trip to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia, where he reportedly pushed all parties to engage in peace talks.
“We urged Palestine to make more efforts and to follow the principle of having prisoner swaps with Israel and release the captured soldiers as soon as possible,” Sun told reporters. “I expressed condolences and sympathy for the pain they have experienced and also for the suffering of these soldiers.
“We also called on Israel and other parties concerned to take further steps to ease the humanitarian crisis that is quite severely confronting the Palestinian people.”
Sun said he met relatives of the two Israeli soldiers, who were kidnapped in the cross-border Hezbollah raid in July that triggered a month-long war in which 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed.
Sun said he saw hope in the Saudi land-for-peace initiative originally floated in 2002 and relaunched at an Arab League summit in Riyadh last month, saying it was a sign of momentum towards renewed peace talks. He added that Arab countries supported the move.
“They have emphasised to me that this is their strategic choice,” Sun said.
He also denied that China’s growing interest in the region was being fuelled by its thirst for oil.
“I think those views are not well-founded and lack sufficient information,” he said, asserting that China’s role in the Middle East is active and fair and aimed at promoting peace, which is in the interest of all sides including China.
There are those who disagree with that assertion. Acknowledging that their government is keen on strengthening ties to China–for economic and political reasons–some Israeli analysts argue that escalating tensions in the Middle East actually benefit rising China, an ally and major oil customer of Islamist Iran. The Islamist-Israeli dispute and the nuclear standoff with the Iranian mullahocracy absorb US attention and resources and divert attention from China, making it easier for the country’s Communist Party rulers to maintain their dictatorship, threaten Taiwan, expand and modernize the Chinese military–including its increasingly ominous space-warfare programs–and compete with the US in terms of access to resources and markets around the world and international influence and prestige.
In short, the Middle East could be the key to further isolating and weakening the US, which China sees as a dying but still dangerous (and economically necessary) Hegemon.
Tensions in the Middle East also boost Beijing’s arms sales to the region–especially to Iran and Syria–encouraging further expansion and development of China’s defense industries.
The challenge for China, according to the above-referenced analysts, is to manage the tension. A crisis leading to full-blown conflict could disrupt oil supplies and send crude prices skyrocketing–not a good thing for the world’s second largest importer of the resource, after the US.