CHINA AND THE MIDDLE EAST: from Silk Road to Arab Spring, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover


from Silk Road to Arab Spring, 1st Edition

By Muhamad S. Olimat


228 pages

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This manuscript examines relations between China and the Middle East in historical context. It highlights some of the most important events that characterize the ties between China and the Middle East, and examines their relationship in key areas that include energy, trade, arms sales, culture and politics.

The centre of China’s relations with Israel is arms sales and advanced technology, while the core of Sino-Saudi relations is oil. Iran and China are tied with deep historical, civilizational, cultural and political relations, but China’s current interests in Iran centre on oil. Relations between China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) centre on trade. The UAE serve as a primary hub for Chinese business corporations not only in the Gulf or the wider Middle East, but also in Africa and the world. China’s relations with Algeria have been based on political co-ordination since the early days of the Algerian War of Independence and the early days of the People’s Republic of China. China provided Algeria with political, diplomatic and military support to accomplish its national liberation from France. Since then, their partnership has developed.

Finally, the book develops a tridimensional approach in which China’s ties with Middle Eastern countries are viewed as an outcome of interaction between three actors in each situation. The book reaches the conclusion that China’s national interests in the Middle East are only increasing, and it is anticipated that Sino-Middle Eastern relations and strategic partnerships will be enhanced in the near future, provided that China is not perceived as undermining the Arab Spring.

Key Features

  • Offers an in-depth analysis of Chinese-Middle Eastern relations
  • Assists students and scholars in understanding the uniqueness of the Chinese model of engagement in the Middle East
  • Explains why most Middle Easterners prefer China’s engagement to Western engagement
  • Explores the future of Sino-Middle Eastern relations


'… an excellent handbook … I do not know of a book that better fulfills this goal. … (provides) a smorgasbord of concise, clear, engaging and accessible chapters.' - Teresa Wright, California State University, in Pacific Affairs

'… laudable and ambitious … heartily recommended as an introduction to a range of important topics, and as an excellent overview of the relevant issues and institutions' – Jens Hein, Chatham House, in International Affairs

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – Sino-Middle East Relations: an Overview

Chapter 2 – A Five-Dimensional Paradigm: Energy, Trade, Arms Sales, Cultural Relations and Political Co-operation

Chapter 3 – Walking on Thin Ropes: A Tridimensional Perspective

Chapter 4 – China’s Reaction to the `Arab Spring’

Chapter 5 – China and Israel

Chapter 6 – China and Saudi Arabia

Chapter 7 – China and Iran

Chapter 8 – China and the United Arab Emirates

Chapter 9 – China-Algeria Relations

Chapter 10 Conclusion

About the Author

Dr Muhamad S. Olimat is an Assistant Professor of international relations at Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Prior to joining KUSTAR, Dr Olimat taught and conducted research at the University of South Florida in St Petersburg, Missouri State University and several other US higher educational institutions. His area of expertise is Middle East politics, and his research concentration focuses on China and the Middle East, socio-political and economic development in the Middle East, and US foreign policy towards the region. He has published several articles and book chapters on China and the Middle East, the Arab Spring, transition to democracy, women and politics in the Middle East, and the role of Islam in the politics of the Middle East.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General