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China Trumpets Success in Brokering Iran-Saudi Arabia Deal

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China scored a diplomatic win by brokering an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia that will re-establish diplomatic ties between the two nations within the next two months. White House spokesman John Kirby admitted that the US had not been directly involved. Meanwhile, the CCP propaganda machine is taking a victory lap, claiming that this deal is quite significant, that China brokered it out of benevolence, and that it is the United States that is opposing peace in the region.

CCP Claims Historic Diplomatic Victory Within Days of Agreement

Perhaps getting ahead of its skis, the CCP media is already claiming that an Iran-Saudi Arabia deal is historic. One Global Times article called it a “landmark agreement” and a “milestone.” One Global Times article called the deal a “huge diplomatic breakthrough” that is “…comparable in significance to the Camp David Accords of 1978 and the Oslo Accords of 1993.” The same article claimed that this deal will “enhance China’s discourse power to promote peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis.” Another Global Times article stated that the deal “shows that China’s mediation efforts have facilitated a real and comprehensive settlement agreement, rather than a partial or temporary one” and that the “concept of peace and security put forward by China is highly practical and operable.” Of course, only time will tell if these bold claims prove true.

CCP Claims Deal Due to China’s Benevolence

Chinese state-run media trumpets the Iran-Saudi deal as a product of China’s benevolence. According to Global Times, China’s role as peacemaker was a “noble initiative.” That same article states that “China is a world-class power that is full of goodwill. It never harms other countries and is truly committed to win-win cooperation.” Another Global Times article praised China as a “kind and trustworthy mediator” that can continue to broker Iran-Saudi dialogue “in accordance with each side’s willingness.” According to China Daily, “Peace is the most precious property of human kind in international relations and China has kept that property well.”

Another theme peddled by the CCP media is China’s selflessness. One Global Times article claims that China has been “making efforts towards peace in the region without seeking self-interest.” According to a Chinese expert cited by another Global Times article, Iran and Saudi Arabia “believe that what China does is not for the selfish interests or hegemony, but for the good of regional stability.” Similarly, one China Daily article cited China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi as stating that “China pursues no selfish interest whatsoever in the Middle East.” According to Yi, as cited by another China Daily article, China is committed to “strategic autonomy of Middle Eastern countries” while opposing “foreign influence” in the region.

CCP Claims United States is Aggressor in Region

According to Chinese state-run media, it is the US that is standing in the way of Iran-Saudi harmony. One way the CCP press shows this is by claiming the US and Chinese have different motivations in the region. According to China Daily, “While China makes peace, the US makes war… China pursues peace and security for all while the US pursues its own hegemonic interests and those for the lobby groups and military-industrial complex.” A Global Times article contrasts China’s diplomacy with “…some countries’ tactics of fueling confrontation to expand their own political domain in the Gulf region,” an obvious reference to the United States, and that “[e]xperts pointed out that the way China handled this issue is different from the US which tends to fuel flames and sow discord for selfish gains.”

One Global Times article attributed Iran-Saudi tensions to the “Trump administration one-sidedly supported Arab countries including Saudi Arabia in confronting Iran,” ignoring Iran’s support of terrorism against Saudi Arabia via the Houthis, and Iran’s ongoing quest for a nuclear bomb. The same article states that the United States “…must feel sour and complicated inside, because the Middle East has long been a region dominated by the US,” and cautions whether the US “will take any obstructive actions” in response to the deal. Another Global Times article cautioned that “some external countries may not want to see such positive improvements in the Middle East,” suggesting that the United States will seek to sabotage the deal.

Chinese propaganda is at it again, this time capitalizing on the diplomatic win of brokering an Iran-Saudi Arabia détente. The significance of this deal remains to be seen, and won’t be felt immediately; it is unlikely that Iranian and Saudi interests in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the Persian/Arabian Gulf will converge any time soon. But the Biden administration can counter China’s initiative with real tangible diplomatic wins in the region by pursuing the Abraham Accords. The Biden administration should wholeheartedly embrace Israel’s current talks to normalize relations with Indonesia, Mauritania, Niger and Somalia, as well as earnestly pursue the grand prize, Saudi normalization with Israel. But if the Biden administration fails to pick up the torch on the Abraham Accords, and continues to needlessly pressure Israel and Saudi Arabia, the US risks continued erosion of influence in the region.

 

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DOJ federal indictment connects Sinaloa Cartel and Chinese ‘underground banking’

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The Justice Department (DOJ) announced a huge connection between Chinese organized crime and the Sinaloa drug cartel. In a press release the DOJ reported a 10-count superseding indictment charging Los Angeles-based associates of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel with conspiring with money-laundering groups linked to Chinese underground banking to launder drug trafficking proceeds. During the conspiracy, more than $50 million in drug proceeds flowed between the Sinaloa Cartel associates and Chinese underground money exchanges.”

The indictment was the result of a multi-year investigation into the conspiracy—dubbed “Operation Fortune Runner”— unsealed on Monday charging a total of 24 defendants with one count of conspiracy to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, according to the press release.

“Dangerous drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine are destroying people’s lives but drug traffickers only care about their profits,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “To protect our community, therefore, it is essential that we go after the sophisticated, international criminal syndicates that launder the drug money. As this indictment and our international actions show, we will be dogged in our pursuit of all those who facilitate destruction in our country and make sure they are held accountable for their actions.”

“Drug traffickers generate immense amounts of cash through their illicit operations. This case is a prime example of Chinese money launderers working hand in hand with drug traffickers to try to legitimize profits generated by drug activities,” said Chief Guy Ficco of IRS Criminal Investigation. “We have made it a priority to identify, disrupt, and dismantle any money launderers working with drug cartels and we are committed to our partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to combat drug cartels and those who assist them in laundering drug proceeds.”

The Justice.Gov website explains of the indictment: “Following close coordination with the Justice Department, Chinese and Mexican law enforcement informed United States authorities that those countries recently arrested fugitives named in the superseding indictment who fled the United States after they were initially charged last year.”

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