By John Solomou

Nicosia, June 14 -- llowing the US policy shift to disengage from the Middle East region, which started under President Barack Obama and continued and accelerated under Donald Trump, China stepped in to fill the vacuum created and now plays a wider role in the region. China's growing influence in the Middle East is a real challenge to US dominance in the region.

With the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, the Chinese government decided to expand its influence in the Middle East and the world in general and to provide an alternative source of financial assistance to some cash-strapped governments, helping them develop their infrastructure.

China is now the primary buyer of Middle Eastern oil, as about 7...