China Exploits "Soft Power" in Iraq: What Should Washington Do?
Reports & Analytics Iraq America breaking China
Shafaq News/ The American newspaper "Washington Times" criticized
Iraq's growing cooperation with China, warning that
Beijing is using "soft power" to penetrate the Iraqi economy, especially in the oil sector, in the absence of American interest,
taking advantage of its relationship with Iraqi militias and the atmosphere of corruption in the country. Country.
The American newspaper pointed out that
after the United States liberated the Iraqi people from the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein through the 2003 invasion, two decades later,
China was busy exploiting Iraq's oil-rich resources, by allying with militias in order to gain a foothold in profitable oil sector.
And after the American report pointed out that
China had made three attempts so far to control Iraq's oil resources, it was made clear that the
Iraqi Oil Ministry had thwarted all these attempts.
For example, the report indicated that the
Russian "Lukoil" company and the American oil giant "Exxon Mobil" tried to sell their shares in major fields to companies supported by the Chinese government, but the
Iraqi Oil Ministry was interfering to prevent this from happening. He added that the
British "BP" was also considering selling a stake to a Chinese company, but
Iraqi officials convinced it otherwise.
The report warned that
if China had succeeded in this, it might have launched a process of "exodus" by the giant international oil companies,
which would have left Iraq open to greater acquisition by China, noting that
Iraqi government officials actually expressed their deep concern. In view of the rapid pace with which Beijing is trying to control Iraq. The report pointed to
a demonstration that took place recently near the headquarters of a Chinese oil company in the southern province of Maysan, saying that
it sheds light again on the growing Iraqi concern about the Chinese expansion in the oil sector.
The report quoted the Italian research center "Geopolitica" as saying that
China is taking advantage of the security vacuum that emerged after the US withdrawal from Iraq, and that
Chinese companies are allying with militias to achieve a strong foothold in the Iraqi oil industry.
The report also quoted the "Financial Times" newspaper as saying that
during the year 2021 alone, China concluded deals worth 10.5 billion dollars in the construction sector in Iraq, adding that
Iraq is the third largest oil exporter to China, showing its keenness to secure Chinese investments in infrastructure development.
Because many US and European companies are reluctant to place their investments due to rampant corruption and militias targeting US coalition forces and Western interests.
The report considered that
China, unlike other parties, was finding ways to operate within this system and in light of the deep corruption and dominance of militias, adding that
in light of the fact that Iran is the de facto ruler in Iraq, through its proxies from the military and political groups, and that
China, despite its preference To cooperate with powerful and central state authorities, however,
Beijing has found its way to deal with an unstable Iraq.
The American newspaper quoted a report by Fudan University in Shanghai, China, as saying that
in 2021, China concluded new reconstruction deals in Iraq worth 10.5 billion dollars, which constitutes one sixth of the investments of the Chinese "Belt and Road Initiative" in that year. The report stated that
"Iraq has emerged for China as the first trading partner in the region, and
it is the third largest supplier of oil to it, after Saudi Arabia and Russia," adding that
proven oil reserves of energy, in addition to its
strategic location on the Arabian Gulf and its
proximity to the Strait of Hormuz,
is of great importance. for the Belt and Road Initiative. He added that
with the US withdrawal from the region, China was motivated to expand its influence, and
it is likely that improving economic relations with Baghdad would lead to China's political influence over a period of time.
Experts were quoted as saying that China's role in the reconstruction of Iraq and the strengthening of China-Iran relations leads to accelerating the Chinese presence in Iraq at the expense of the United States, adding that
Washington, Tehran and Ankara, which are deeply linked to Iraq, are all watching China's movements in Iraq.
The report also referred to China's shrewd use of "soft power" strategies in order to control countries that need money,
which applies to Iraq in strong contrast to the hard power initiatives pursued by the United States, explaining that
"soft power" strategies include economic investments and policies. Non-interference in Iraq's affairs. He added that
Beijing has recently begun to take advantage of post-conflict opportunities through mediation efforts and commercial commitment rather than military intervention,
in addition to its use of its veto at the United Nations several times, as it worked alongside Russia and against the Western bloc over the Syrian war.
In addition, China has become more active in major regional issues such as Afghanistan, and
it also wants to prevent Washington from using political and military force in Iraq. The report concluded by saying that
China has a firm interest in the oil and energy sectors, and
it is working to establish power stations, factories and water facilities in addition to the much-needed schools in various parts of Iraq the country, which is what the newspaper "Los Angeles Times" indicated.
He noted that dozens of contracts signed in recent years ensured the increasing presence of China at a time when major Western companies, including from the United States, were looking to exit the Iraqi market.
"While Iraqi officials acknowledge that they desire a greater American presence, at the same time they find attractiveness in China's offers for development without the conditions of democracy or democracy," he said. Now, the report considers that one of the results of this is that
Chinese companies dominate the main economic sector in Iraq, ie oil, as they consume 40% of crude oil exports.
Chinese companies also operate in many key sectors, including finance, transportation, construction and communications. He also pointed out that
Iraq has recently finalized terms with the Chinese company "Sinopec" for the development of the Mansourieh gas field, which can produce up to 300 million cubic feet per day. The report concluded by saying that
although Baghdad expressed concern about China's control of Iraqi resources, what is worrying is that Iraq will turn into a puppet in the hands of the Chinese in the near future, adding that
the only way to confront these efforts is through the United States strengthening its diplomatic and economic game.
He explained that this means, first and foremost, that
Washington must "frame America's strategic competition with China in Iraq as an ideological competition between democracy and tyranny," and
Washington must therefore make diplomatic and economic efforts to strengthen democracy in Iraq, which contributes In strengthening the independence and sovereignty of the Iraqi people. He concluded by saying that
Washington must present itself to Iraq as "a partner that is more reliable, more supportive and like-minded."
Special translation: Shafak News