It has always been an important program for nations that are strong in establishing their control over important strategic points around the world in order to have an advantage over their respective counterparts. The narrative of the struggle for power across the world includes to a large extent the control of strategic locations.
Russia is setting up a military base in Sudan at Port Sudan. Port talks date back to 2017 under the leadership of President Omar al-Bashir and Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in a coup and Sudan’s new military leader took 5 years to speed up talks over the military base. These talks not only open Russia’s doors to the Red Sea, but also those of Sudan. This agreement will open up a wider range of partnerships between Russia and Sudan, with Sudan willing to acquire Su-30s, air defense systems and other defense equipment from Russia.
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The United States is a non-actor in the Red Sea
Apparently, America is shaken by the naval base deal between Russia and Sudan. He even tried to put an end to the agreement by coercing Sudan and bribing it. Sudan postponed the deal with Russia after receiving help from the United States, but America could never force Sudan to cancel the deal.
Global hegemony literally has no influence in the North East African region. In Sudan, he cannot stop a new naval base. Egypt is already in the Russian camp and Eritrea does not allow the United States to intervene in the Horn of Africa region. He even wiped out the TPLF, a US proxy, in the Tigray region.
Djibouti is the only point where the American army is present but it is also accompanied by Russia in Djibouti. This phenomenon practically gives Russia carte blanche in the region.
As part of this military base deal, Russia will develop the base with the capability to deploy nuclear-powered vessels. The base will be leased to Russia for 25 years, with automatic 10-year extensions until either party objects. Port Sudan handles 90% of Sudan’s maritime trade. This base will help Russia keep an eye on the Bab El Mandeb Strait and control the Red Sea and ultimately the trade that flows through the sea. Most of China’s exports and imports come from this region. This base is why China is investing heavily in Eritrea. China’s BRI ambitions will also crumble if that strait is completely controlled by a third party. This Russian hegemony gives China sleepless nights. In the event of a conflict, China cannot secure its energy supply and trade routes.
A fearful China is now in damage control, now running from pillar to post to save its trade routes and ambitious BRI dreams. To save itself, China has started to invest massively in the neighboring country, Eritrea, which also opens into the Bab El Mandeb Strait. It is an important player in the Horn of Africa region. Its location is strategically important when talking about this region. This is evident from the fact that the West deployed all its propaganda machinery (EU and Western media) and also invested heavily (aid to Tigray) in the region just to assert its dominance.
China’s damage control
An ambitious China has now started investing in the region, mainly Eritrea. Recently, the Chinese company Sichuan Road and Bridge Group bought a 50% stake in the Colluli potash project from an Australian company Danakali ltd in Eritrea. Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC) is a joint venture between Danakali ltd and Eritrean National Mining Corporation (ENAMCO). A term sheet was signed between CMSC and Danakali, according to which the deal was finalized for $166 million. Depending on the terms, the deal will be finalized between March 31 and May 31, 2023.
Another investment from China is in the Asmara project. Sichuan Road and Bridge Mining (SRBM) acquired 60% of the Asmara Mining Share Co. for $65 million from Sunridge Gold Corp. in 2016. Asmara Mining Share Company is the holder of the Asmara project in Eritrea. It is a 60/40 joint venture between China’s SRBM and state-owned ENAMCO. The Asmara project will include four locations Emba Derho, Adi Nefas, Gupo and Debarwa. This project has a life of 17 years and the mine production of the project is estimated at 850,000 tons of zinc, 381,000 metric tons of copper, 436,000 ounces of gold and 11 million ounces of silver.
Seeing all these investments from China, one can say that China just wants to hijack the economy of Eritrea to control the region which is in the hands of Russia. Trade is a big concern for China and it knows its relationship with Russia is just a marriage of convenience. He knows he can betray Russia if need be. As we know it is a backstabber of historical times. Currently, China is frying the smallest fish, but when it comes to the region’s juggernaut, it will always be Russia and it is a fact that China should realize this once and for all.