A leak from the US intelligence services revealed to the “Washington Post” that China has resumed work on a port in the United Arab Emirates to build its first military base in the region, close to where the US base is located. This circumstance, and the fact that Beijing has state approval, formally, is one of the main allies and partners of the United States. In the Arab world, it explains the unease and confusion in the White House about how to respond to the crisis.
The leaked documents indicate that the business – which resumed in December, after a year-long hiatus after Washington’s first warning to Abu Dhabi – is using a Chinese trading enclave at Khalifa Port as a front, 50 miles north of the capital.
The CIA was able to show the presence of the Chinese military in this bloc, which is reserved for the Merchant Marines in Beijing, as well as in two other Arab military bases inside the country. The United States has a naval base and an air base – key to all its activities in the Middle East – only 50 miles from Khalifa.
How do you deal with Abu Dhabi? A punch on the table will be the most effective method in the short term. But since 2012, the UAE has been the third largest buyer of US arms in the world, and Abu Dhabi can easily choose the Chinese or Russian markets. Not forgetting the 5,000 North American soldiers on Emirati soil; It is one thing to withdraw troops from conflicting states at war – Iraq and Syria, for example, and one thing to abandon their presence in some bases that monitor the political and commercial hegemony of the superpower in the Arab world.
The crisis makes it clear that the supposed American “imperialism” is very different from that which the European powers boasted of in their day, or from the new one that China and Russia intend to establish. In a way, the Arab regimes seem to be nostalgic for imperialism, in their search for a military force that would protect them and at the same time not interfere in their actions.
The United Arab Emirates, dissatisfied with the protection offered by an American force, is in deep retreat from the region, as evidenced by its complaints after Washington’s slow response when the pro-Iranian Yemeni Houthis bombed its territory. Thus, Abu Dhabi seeks a double guarantee, allowing China to establish its first military base on the lands of the Emirates, and to strengthen trade relations with the Beijing regime.