As the Middle East becomes ever more unstable, a surprising victor may be emerging: China. Under President Xi Jinping, China has accelerated its engagement with the Middle East — a region Beijing once treated as peripheral to its interests. Increased trade and investment, invigorated diplomatic exchanges, and expanded military ties are gradually transforming China’s position in the Middle East. Unless Washington can free its focus from the crises of the moment, Beijing may realize its ambitions: a Middle East more squarely within its own economic and diplomatic orbit, where the United States remains responsible for addressing the region’s most intractable challenges.
Last month, following the first Lebanese elections since 2009, Israel's defense minister made a grave observation. Speaking at an annual conference in Herzliya, Avigdor Lieberman said that Hezbollah – the Iran-backed militia, political party and terror group – had effectively taken control of the state.