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China-MENA Podcast June 17, 2024

Unpacking Influence: China’s Impact on US Strategy in the Middle East

By Atlantic Council


Key takeaways

  • US vs. China in Regional Influence
  • Importance of International Order
  • US Strategic Partnerships
  • China’s Regional Impact


00:00 – Introduction

03:51 – Navigating Biden’s China Challenge in the Middle East

08:46 – Safeguarding Strategic Partnerships Amidst China’s Rise

11:41 – Exploring China’s Economic Development

15:00 – Contrasting US and China Infrastructure Support

20:19 – Assessing China’s Trade Influence

22:23 – Impact of the International Order on Gulf Economies

24:30 – Insights from the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum

29:18 – China’s Prioritization of its Immediate Periphery

34:04 – Cooperation and Countering Iran’s Influence

38:19 – Iran’s Behavior Changes and China’s Role

39:51 – Evading Sanctions: Iran, Russia, and China

42:22 – Outro

In this episode

Dana Stroul
Director of Research and Senior Fellow
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Dana Stroul is Director of Research and Shelly and Michael Kassen Senior Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, positions she assumed in February, 2024. She rejoined the Institute after serving from 2021-2023 as deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, the Pentagon’s top civilian official with responsibility for the region. In that capacity, she led the development and execution of U.S. defense policy in the region during an especially turbulent period that included accelerating integrated air and maritime defense, addressing Iran’s destabilizing activities, formulating the U.S. approach to strategic competition, sustaining the DEFEAT-ISIS coalition, and responding to the Israel-Hamas War. Previously, she served for five years as a senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she covered the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey, and also served in Middle East policy office of the Secretary of Defense.


In this episode of China-MENA, titled “Unpacking Influence: China’s Impact on US Strategy in the Middle East,” join our host Jonathan Fulton and guest Dana Stroul, director of research and senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for the Middle East, as they explore China’s evolving role and its impact on US policy in the Middle East and North Africa. This episode delves into global partnerships like the US-UAE-G42-Microsoft collaboration, the strategic significance of 5G technology and cloud computing, and the role of China on Iran’s behavior changes. Among other themes, Dana also discusses:

• The China-Arab States Cooperation Forum
• How to safeguard strategic partnerships amidst China’s rise
• Contrast between China and US infrastructure support
• Evasion of sanctions: Iran, Russia and China

Join us for an insightful discussion on the future of the US and its strategic goals in the region.

Hosted by

The importance of the Rules-Based International Order lies in preventing unilateral changes or use of force to alter recognized boundaries

Dana Stroul

About the China-MENA podcast

The China-MENA podcast features conversations with academics, think-tankers, and regional specialists on Chinese Influence in the Middle East and informs US and MENA audiences in the policy and business communities about the nature of China’s outreach to the region.

At a time when China’s global footprint is getting deeper and deeper, it has never been more important to understand its foreign policy and the Middle East is one of the world’s most consequential regions: home to major religions, diverse cultural and social heritage, central to global energy markets, and of course, geopolitics, linking people and markets in Asia, Africa and Europe.  This show will help you understand what China is doing in the region, and how the region is engaging with China as an increasingly important external power.

Podcast series

Listen to the latest episode of the China-MENA podcast, featuring conversations with academics, government leaders, and the policy community on China’s role in the Middle East.

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This podcast was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

Related Experts: Jonathan Fulton

Image: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang during their meeting in Beijing, China, April 6, 2023. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY