It was to be only for naives, not to have expected US to throw a spanner into the Iran-China 400 billion USD ‘trade and military’ deal , for 25 years on July 13, 2020 1 , as US would do everything to scuttle the deal , and as expected, the sanctions came, rather more sanctions came, thick and fast on July 31, 2020 2  which referred to 22 specific metals which are likely to be used by Iran in its nuclear, military and ballistic programmes.  The two nations worst afflicted by China-Iran agreement are obviously US and Israel, despite US declaring its ‘military partnership with Israel as its commitment to ‘Israel’s security and supporting its right to defend itself. The level of U.S. support to Israel is unparalleled. Under our 10-year Memorandum of Understanding, we provide 3.8 billion USD annually in security assistance to Israel. In addition to financial support, the U.S. and Israel maintain a high level of defense cooperation including  joint military exercises, military research, and weapons development’  . This was declared by US Department of State on March 12, 2020.3 The latest ban implies that these 22 items are totally banned to be either supplied or bought from Iran.

These sanctions were actually quite on the cards, for the agreement between China-Iran, conveys that China would help Iran into developing its ballistic, military, radar etc in exchange of Iran’s heavily discounted oil, which US finds as tantamount to a challenge to it in Middle-East.  Any nation trying to see into US eyes is to be slapped with sanctions, as Turkey  has been done with the same on July 19, 2020 for buying S-400 from Russia, through Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) 4 and Iran, as a device to counter sanctions has resorted to seek payments in gold instead of USD , as recently came to light from Venezuela 5 , ironically both the nations are battling US sanctions, and it is quite understandable that China and Iran are either going to transact in gold or through Digital Yuan, which China is propelling as a counter to USD.

China, obviously is not to deter from US sanctions and will go ahead with business with Iran and it is at that juncture when China would be faced from the wrath of US sanctions and its big companies are to face a ban and that will signal to trigger a major conflict in whole of the world as China is a global supplier of goods, ‘ A July report (2019) from the McKinsey Global Institute found that depending on China’s engagement with the world in the coming years, economic value of between $22 trillion to $37 trillion could be added or subtracted from the global economy by 2040’ 6 and despite the outbreak of COVID-19 China’s economy is all likely to grow 7 . The obvious reaction from China will then be an open-trade war with US as anyone engaged into business with China or Iran will be a pariah, the noxious fallout will have to be first showcased on China’s most ambition project-the CPEC which is likely to be attached to Chabahar (Iran) via Gwador port in Pakistan. Belt and Road Initiative of China would be into for a final halt. All the 68 countries which are a part of CPEC 8 will come to standstill.

China to be sure has engaged with Iran , not as a part of any kneejerk reaction to its showdown with US in its South sea but surely out of importance of Iran as a nation ready to lock horns with US and also to see eye-to-eye to US most unwavering ally in Middle-East-Israel. China has already thwarted the Israel plan to annex West Bank in Palestine on July 22, 2020 9 sending shock waves all across in Israel as well as US.   Israel which finds Iran as a competent foe in Middle-East is most likely to plan for an attack on Iran along with US before Trump goes for polls in November 2020. There have been too many reports of Israel stealth bombers engaged into bombing Iran nuclear and ballistic sites as well as at Iranian assets in Syria, Lebanon etc.  The strategy is to first starve Iran through sanctions, engineer widespread riots/protests inside Iran and then an invasion on it with the courtesies of Gulf nations. But, this huge US juggernaut is now to strike against the presence of China which has entered into fray with US, not only in Middle but in fact all across the world. India, it may be mentioned had its curtains-drawn 10 with Iran before China and Iran finalised the deal. India is now openly with Israel and US as an ally against China. China is also engaged in a brawl with India in its Himalayan region.

There is also a political turmoil boiling in Israel as Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu is under fire over corruption charges and has largely fallen silent over his ambitious plan of annexation of West bank, which he has called as ‘not-off-the-table’ but being held up by US administration on August 3, 2020 11 and is trying to silence his adversaries  by bringing the coveted trophy ( of West Bank) which has gone into bad-weather by China supporting (Russia also)  the Palestine people and which had finally made people to turn into thousands protesting against his official residence in Jerusalem seeking his resignation. What is baffling as to how a crowd of 60,000 people was allowed to gather in Israel in the midst of COVID-19 spread on August 2, 2020 12 apart from in other cities as well, while the whole world has been ordained to remain indoors?. Why the warnings of WHO assigned to dustbin? Israel is a nation is around 9.2 million 13 and people in such large numbers, without the dread of COVID-19, is a point to watch as nowhere in the world has  shown with such massive protests, notwithstanding the US riots in the wake of George Floyd killing 14 .  Israel official figures show as 546 deaths, until August 2, 2020, out of COVID-19, though its Coronavirus cabinet intends to go for a total lockdown from mid of August 15 .

Will the protests bear fruit?  As, it might also end with Netanyahu resigning too, paving way for Benny Gantz, but not before setting to become a trend setter in the Gulf States , as the Gulf States are reeling by the slump in oil prices, and more particularly so, Saudi Arabia is mulling assets sales, to putting into force more taxes to meet to the new economic meltdown 16 , and Arab oil also nearing its end as has been reported in The Economist on July 18, 2020 17 , as people are likely to protest the imposition of news taxes in the whole of Gulf-region, is to be followed by millions of workers despatched to their respective countries,  along with an inspiration of protests being the yardstick from Israel, of having nailed their PM,  will be the charge to embrace the in-coming new-world-order, as that is likely to become the new war-cry in the Gulf-States very soon . Sceptics are of opinion that the protests are likely to be exported to Middle-East very rapidly to make for Arab Spring 2.0 and let the Gulf-States descent into more chaos as has happened in the aftermath of Arab Spring 1.0, while Israel would emerge more stronger towards the making of Third-Temple at Jerusalem, in pursuance of its dream for Greater Israel.

Will these protests result into changing the old-guard, in the post COVID-19 world is only time will find out.  Gulf-States better guard-off.  Only the irredentist China, supported by Russia can foil the permutations. Agree?

The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner .  He is also a lawyer based in Lucknow.

References:

1-      https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iran-china-trade-military-agreement

2-      –https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-sanctions/pompeo-says-u-s-has-expanded-scope-of-iran-metals-sanctions-idUSKCN24V3P5

3-      https://www.state.gov/furthering-our-relationship-with-israel/

4-      https://ahvalnews.com/s-400/us-representatives-introduce-sanctions-against-turkey-over-russia-deal#

5-      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-30/iran-is-hauling-gold-bars-out-of-venezuela-s-almost-empty-vaults

6-      https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/24/how-much-chinas-economy-has-grown-over-the-last-70-years.html

7-      https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/01/after-coronavirus-chinas-economy-looks-set-to-grow-as-world-braces-for-contraction.html.

8-      https://www.c3sindia.org/geopolitics-strategy/dimensions-of-china-pakistan-economic-corridor-by-muhammed-safwan-a/

9-      https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/china-to-unsc-palestinians-can-count-on-us-to-back-their-just-rights-635910

10-   https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/railways/india-shunted-out-of-key-iran-rail-project-plot-set-to-thicken-as-chinas-shadow-looms-in-the-background/articleshow/76952974.cms?from=mdr

11-   https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-west-bank-annexation-not-off-the-table-issue-is-in-washington/

12-   https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/anti-netanyahu-protests-heat-peak-at-30000-report-637150

13-   https://www.timesofisrael.com/ahead-of-independence-day-israeli-population-stands-at-9-2-million/

14-   https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html

15-   https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/coronavirus-in-israel-death-toll-rises-to-541-713-new-infections-637291

16-   https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/saudi-arabia-explores-asset-sales-income-tax-to-boost-finances/articleshow/77122788.cms

17-   The end of the Arab world’s oil age is nigh


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