China on why Libya is bombed while Bahrain and Yemen get away with repression
Africa is absolutely crucial for China’s energy strategy. Let’s take a look at China’s top oil suppliers: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Angola, Russia, Oman and Sudan.
At the strait of Hormuz – through which transits Saudi, Iranian and Omani oil – China is hostage of the local policeman, the US 5th Fleet, which also patrols the Bab el-Mandeb, the gateway to the Red Sea and the naval highway for Sudan’s oil to reach the Indian Ocean.
Then there’s the strait of Malacca, between Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, patrolled by the US 7th Fleet – the key chokepoint for oil navigating towards China.
So it is no surprise Beijing has connected the dots between Libya being bombed and Bahrain and Yemen getting away with repression of pro-democracy protests. The 5th Fleet calls Bahrain home, and Aden, in Yemen, is the key to the Red Sea.
Beijing finds the Pentagon’s mighty machine interfering with most of its key sources of energy; half of China’s oil imports in 2011 came from MENA (Middle East/ Northern Africa). The threat is graphic, as Beijing sees it.