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The Takeaway: China moves to elevate its role in Middle East, but faces odds

Also: Bibi ignored on Iran; Nile dam mediation; the UAE and Somaliland; Russia and Saudi Arabia; Turkey and Uighurs; the kingdom’s night lights; and more!
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi (R), in the capital Tehran, on March 27, 2021. - Iran and China signed what state television called a "25-year strategic cooperation pact" on today as the US rivals move closer together. The agreement, which has been kept almost entirely under wraps, was signed by the two countries' foreign ministers, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Wang Yi, an AFP correspondent reported.

Hot take: China’s reach in the region still has limits

China has long had a two-track approach to the Middle East and North Africa: racking up public-relations points with "Belt and Road" business and infrastructure deals, but staying out of security and political issues.

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