China and Iran caught in Israel’s Wok

The Wok is a Hebrew-language blog about China, Israel and everything in between. Following the current commotion in Israel’s northern border, The Wok published an article that examines the relation between events in the far and middle east. A full translation is available below. The original article (in Hebrew ) is available here.

The current round of violence in the north [ of Israel, D.P.]brings with it a tidal wave of opinions and analysis from our country’s various commentators. Everyone is talking about Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Hamas. Some mention Syria. The brave ones point a flabby finger towards Iran. They talk about pressure from Europe, intervention from NATO, and the creation of a Saudi-Jordanian-Egyptian front. Didn’t we forget someone?

As in other fields, the Israeli media reflects the dwellers of Zion’s yearning towards the west – that group of civilized nations we see ourselves as a part of. Reality, on the other hand, is quick to remind us that we are rooted in the depths of the east. To the defense of the Israeli media we should note that most western journalists, as well as leaders, all seem reluctant to mix the matters of the Far East with those of the middle one.

So where is, after all, the connection? Without drowning in conspiracy theories, let us look at a few events from the last six months. Connect the dots.

January 18th, 2006 – Iran’s Northern Drilling Company (NDC) signs an oil surveying agreement in the Caspian Sea with China Oilfields Services Ltd. The agreement, estimated at US33 billion, will enable Iran to expand its surveying efforts in the southern part of the Caspian Sea. Until then, Iran had no ability to survey potential oil fields deeper than 90 meters below sea level. A bit more than a year earlier, at the end of 2004, China and Iran sign a gas and oil estimated at US70 billion. As part of the agreement, Iran will supply China 250 million tonnes of liquid gas and 150,000 crude oil barrels a day for 30 years.

April 3rd, 2006 – China signs an agreement to purchase uranium from, and cooperation in nuclear development with Australia. The agreement is one of the cornerstones of the developing free trade agreement between the two countries. In the agreement, China vouches to use the supplied Uranium for peace purposes, in accord with the nonproliferation treaty for nuclear technology.

June 15th, 2006 – Mahmud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is invited to attend the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The organization was established in 2001 as an alliance between countries with military and natural resources – China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan – to counter-balance American influence in east and central Asia. In the past, western leaders and commentators expressed concern that the organization aspires to grow and become an eastern version of NATO.

Along with Iran, delegates from Mongolia and Pakistan – two other prospective SCO members – were also invited to attend the summit. While the rest of the world is trying to pressure Iran to dump its nuclear weapons program, Ahmadinejad is received in Shanghai as a distinguished guest. During his visit, the Iranian president did not forget his friends from the middle east and used the stage he was given to call for an inquiry into the veracity of the holocaust.

July 5th, 2006 – North Korea launches six missiles as part of a testing of its military capabilities. One of the missiles has within it’s range large parts of Europe and North America. The Americans, who were busy celebrating the 4th of July, were happy to hear that the testing ended in a failure. The South Korean Associated Press reports that 10 senior Iranian security officials were in North Korea to observe the experiment. According to the report, the officials arrived to North Korean through Beijing.

July 12th , 2006 – The ultimatum given to Iran by the United Nations has reached its last day. The world gave Iran a choice between halting its nuclear activities and having the matter escalated to the UN’s Security Council. That same morning, Hezbollah, an Iranian-funded terrorist organization, violates Israel’s northern border, kills 8 soldiers and kidnaps two more.

July 14th, 2006 – An Israeli Navy ship is hit by an advanced Surface-Sea missile. The Chinese-made missile was upgraded in Iran and made its way to the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon through Syria. Iran initially purchased 150 units of the missile after the first Gulf War in 1991 (not all of them reached their final destination). From 2000 and onwards, Iran has been working on an upgraded version of the Chinese missile in cooperation with North Korea.

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