IRAQ - Link to China’s Belt and Road Strategy

Arno Froese

Last year, Iraq became a top recipient of Chinese investment and a key link in Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative. Almost 20 years after the war in Iraq began, billions of Chinese yuan are being invested in assorted projects, from green energy capabilities and heavy oil plants to building roads and schools. What role does Iraq play in China’s “Belt and Road” strategy and how does this development affect the big power competition in the Middle East?

In Tehran last March, the Chinese and Iranian foreign ministers signed a 25-year cooperation agreement (a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”). Under the accord, Beijing promised to invest $400 billion in Iran’s economy in exchange for a steady and heavily discounted supply of oil.

According to a report from Fudan University’s Center for Green Finance and Development in Shanghai, last year Iraq received $10.5 billion in investment under the Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. Iraq has become the third-biggest Belt and Road partner in energy engagement, after Russia and Pakistan. Overall Chinese investment in Arab and Middle Eastern countries rose by about 360% in 2021, while construction engagement increased by 116%, compared to 2020, the study said.

The experts are certain that cooperation between China and Iraq will keep growing in 2022, even if the volume of investment does not expand.

Will Chinese involvement contribute to stabilization of the situation in and around Iraq? Some believe this will be the case, due to Chinese concern over disruption of oil supplies. For now, it’s clear China is slowly but surely building its position in the Middle East and that this new reality will affect the global power competition worldwide., 7 February 2022

Arno's Commentary

China is the largest nation by population. Their own economic reports and analysis have them as the largest economy in the world. That, of course, is not supported by Western measurements, mostly dominated by the USA. But China is the world’s largest exporter and importer. 

Most significant, experts say, is their intention to not only infiltrate Southeast Asia, but also the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. China News reported on 13 September 2021 that China operates over 100 ports in 60 countries. In light of this, states: “Dr. Eyal Pinko, a former Israeli intelligence officer pointed out that the port can easily be used to collect naval intelligence. ‘You can track the whereabouts of ships and communications. Once you own and operate the port site, these are very easy to do. You can do whatever you want. You are the landlord there,’ he told VOA in a telephone interview.”

Here again, we see that merchandise—the king of the new world—is no longer moving from the West toward the East, but from the East toward the West. Here we are reminded of Revelation 16:12: “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” Often, this is interpreted as meaning military powers from the East moving across the Euphrates River on the way to Israel. However, when we read verse 14, we get a different answer. “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” We understand these are spirits, and in this case the weapons are merchandise.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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