Xi Jinping, President of China Stranger/APA Images via ZUMA Wire

Xi de Arabia

BEIJING – Quienes criticaban la cauta política exterior de China deberían reconsiderar su posición, tras la visita que acaba de completar el presidente Xi Jinping a Arabia Saudita e Irán, dos importantes potencias de Medio Oriente actualmente enfrentadas. Las visitas reflejan la actitud más activa en política exterior iniciada por Xi, particularmente en Medio Oriente. Esta nueva estrategia plantea una cuestión importante: ¿puede la influencia de China en la región ser más constructiva que la de Estados Unidos?

Este es sin duda un tiempo difícil para involucrarse en Medio Oriente, una región donde, como sostiene Richard N. Haass, se desarrolla una nueva Guerra de los Treinta Años, en la que “resulta imposible distinguir las guerras civiles y las guerras por delegación”. Un factor clave para que se desatara el caos actual (que representa la convergencia de numerosos desafíos y conflictos profundamente arraigados) fue la invasión estadounidense a Irak en 2003. Al eliminar el régimen sunnita de Saddam Hussein, Estados Unidos dejó la puerta abierta para la asunción de un gobierno shiíta, un hecho que alteró el equilibrio regional de poder en favor de Irán y llevó a Arabia Saudita, cuyo gobierno es sunnita, a sentirse rodeada por una coalición de la facción opuesta.

Por eso Irán y Arabia Saudita están tan involucrados en la guerra civil siria. Saben que la suerte que corra el régimen alahuita del presidente Bashar al-Assad tendrá importantes consecuencias para el orden regional. Para Arabia Saudita, poner freno a Irán es mucho más importante ahora, tras el reciente acuerdo sobre el programa nuclear iraní, que dio lugar al levantamiento de las sanciones económicas internacionales que por mucho tiempo contuvieron las ambiciones de liderazgo regional de Teherán.

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