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China Continues to Reshape Middle East with Syria-Arab League Deal

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Syria has re-joined the Arab League, after the League had excluded it for 12 years since the outset of the Syrian Civil War. But the bigger winner is China. China used the Syria-Arab League deal to praise Syria’s re-emergence from isolation, take credit for the deal (which came on the heels of the China-brokered Iran-Saudi Arabia deal), and knock the United States.

China heaped praise on Syria’s ascension to the Arab League. The development was “exhilarating news” and the Chinese “sincerely feel happy for Syria and the Arab League” according to Global Times. It was a “landmark event,” according to another Global Times article. Syria’s growing ties with the Arab world represented a “wind of change,” according to Xinhua.

China strongly influenced the SyriaArab League deal, as the Chinese brokered Iran-Saudi Arabia deal allowed Saudi Arabia to make peace with Syria, and for Iran and Saudi Arabia to reduce tensions with each other in Syria and Yemen. And China agrees: Chinese mediation to clinch an Iran-Saudi Arabia peace deal gave the “direct impetus for the Arab League’s decision,” according to a Global Times article.

China has gone a step further, claiming that it was directly involved with the Syria-Arab League deal, a claim which could not be substantiated at the time of this writing in press from the free world. The Syria-Arab League deal was brought about“with the help of China’s mediation,” according to Global Times. Syria’s ambassador to China stated that the Arab League’s decision was “initiated by the efforts of peace-loving and responsible global powers, including China, according to another Global Times article. In that article, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman echoed that China has been actively engaging with all parties concerned on this matter, and has always supported the unity of Arab countries and the rejoining of Syria to the bloc. A mere weeks before the deal, Assad praised China as playing a ”positive role in promoting Syrias relations with other Arab nations,” and that “China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in improving Syria’s relations with Arab countries,” according to Xinhua.

Meanwhile, China used the Syria-Arab League deal as an opportunity to criticize the US’ role in the region. According to “Chinese observers” cited in the Global Times, “…the US only seeks to maintain its hegemonic status and harms peace, development rights and interests of countries in the Middle East, and will not be sustainable…” That same article, citing a Chinese academic, stated that “the US illegal military presence in Syria and its sanctions policy against the country are incompatible with the trend of regional relations…” and that “the regional demand for US security guarantees has declined sharply. Syria’s ascension to the Arab League was due a decline in US influence in the Middle East due to the “US’ irresponsible behavior in events such as the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and provoking confrontation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” according to Global Times. The United States’ opposition to Syria rejoining the Arab League amountedto an “an overwhelming reluctance and non-acceptance of the independence and autonomy shown in the Middle East,according to Global Times.

In a charm offensive, China has scored several geopolitical wins this year alone. It is hawking a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine, has successfully brokered peace with Iran and Saudi Arabia in March which it has used to at least influence a Syria-Arab League deal, and has re-ignited its construction of a military base in the UAE. It is imperative that the Biden administration counter China’s inroads in the Middle East by jumpstarting the Abraham Accords, before the Gulf and the broader region slips further into the hands of the CCP.

 

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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal

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In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.

Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.

Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.

Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.

Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.

Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.

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