A Triangular Relationship
Edited by Jan Wouters, Jean-Christophe Defraigne and Matthieu Burnay
Chapter 9: The evolution of European and Chinese interests in the MENA region
MENA (Middle East and North Africa) refers to what some pejoratively call the Arab world, a generic name that in reality masks great heterogeneity. The region covers an area that stretches from the Maghreb territories to Iran through Israel and Turkey. It is thus a space consisting of several sub-regions (the Maghreb, the Middle East, the Gulf monarchies, and so on) which themselves cover deep ethnic, religious, linguistic or economic disparities. Moreover, MENA has long been and remains coveted by foreign powers, making it one of the most penetrated regions in the world and the subject of much rivalry (economic, political and military) and confrontation between the great powers. The region and its present-day borders have been determined in large part by Western European diplomatic and colonial policy. Analysis of the history of North Africa and Middle East is essential to understanding the region’s contemporary relationships with both the European Union and China.
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