This article explores the impact of China on the norms and institutions constituting the regional order in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It does so by assessing the effect that China’s challenges to the global order will have on the MENA. It is argued that scholars tend to focus on Beijing’s foreign policy directly targeting the region, especially the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But in doing so, they overlook another parallel channel through which China may have an important, even critical, impact: the consequences unfolding from China’s different challenges to the global order. The fact that China may prove successful in articulating parallel and/or alternative norms and institutions to those that currently define the global liberal order could trigger shifts in the MENA normative environment. Three cases are examined in order to assess this potential: its challenge to some elements of the Bretton Woods global economic order; China’s contestation of the Law of the Sea; and its challenge to particular liberal elements of the global order.

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