Panel 4b Asia, Russia and the Arab Uprisings: Governmental and Popular Reactions to the Uprisings

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Chair: Professor Tim Niblock, Emeritus Professor of Middle Eastern Politics at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter

Paper 1: China’s Arabic Satellite Television Channel: Building a New Silk-Road Station, Emerging China-Middle East Tie
Dr Ho Wai-Yip, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Hong Kong Institute of Education

This paper explores the Chinese Arabic international channel which was officially launched by the state-run China Central Television (CCTV) in July 2009. Among various Arabic satellite channels, CCTV Arabic aims distinctly at reviving the primordial imagination of a Silk Road connection between the Arab world and China. This paper discusses the role of CCTV as an ideological forerunner in legitimizing China’s increasing involvement in the Arab world and as an emerging superpower. On the one hand, CCTV Arabic defends the official image of China to the Arab Street by countering the distorted views espoused by the foreign media. On the other hand, CCTV Arabic fosters China-Arab ties by respecting diversity of civilizations which is the underlying foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in strengthening China’s international influence in the contemporary multi-polar world.

Paper 2: Possible Changes in Russo-Iranian Relations after the Presidential Elections of 2012 in Russia
Dr Nikolay Kozhanov, Expert, Institute of the Middle East, Moscow

Russia is expected to revise its political approaches towards Iran and the Middle East. Some steps in this direction have been already made. Firstly, the construction of Busher nuclear plant is presented as a symbol of increasing cooperation. Secondly, proposals made to the “5+1” group are expected to partly return the initiative in handling the problem of the nuclear programme of Tehran back to Russia. Thirdly, Moscow will possibly be more active in using Iran to hamper the penetration of the third countries to the Caspian and Central Asian regions. Finally, Moscow is expected to make more active attempts to penetrate in the energy sector of the Iranian economy. At the same time, given that the West will not be provoking Moscow by the activities threatening the very national security of the Russian Federation and economic interests of its political elite we should not expect from Putin’s administration any unpredictable moves such as the supply of S-300 air defence systems to Iran. The cost of these steps will not justify the political and economic gains of Moscow. >> download the paper

Paper 3: Japan and the Arab uprisings
Dr Yukiko Miyagi, Lecturer in East Asia and Middle East IR, University of Durham

These are abridged versions of the abstracts submitted by  the presenters.
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