By late 1992, Beijing’s relations with the Middle East had undergone more than a decade of dramatic changes. In Mao’s time, the Chinese had failed to acquire the essential means to promote their foreign policy interests in the Middle East, primarily aimed at Soviet and American withdrawal from the region. Having been excluded from the United Nations (UN) as well as most international organisations and most Middle Eastern (and Western) capitals, Beijing’s political means had been hopelessly limited. Itself a developing country cut off from external sources of economic assistance and military supply, there had been no way that China could compete with the US and the USSR, and their allies, in winning Middle Eastern goodwill by providing arms and aid. Beijing’s only advantage in the Middle East had been its relations with revolutionary organisations and national liberation movements that entailed some supply of light arms, basic military training and political indoctrination – and a good deal of rhetoric. Ultimately, even these overtures were rejected. Nonetheless the damage to China’s foreign relations was not terribly significant since the Middle East was marginal to its ‘core interests’ (as they are now called) and far beyond its immediate and more urgent concerns.