2018 Global Outlook: Four dangerous dynamics in the Middle East
Early 2018 finds the Middle East at a singular moment in its history. It is hard to recall a period when so many fundamental geopolitical shifts have occurred just as societies, states and alliances in the region were all starting to fall apart. Four disruptive trends can be identified, any one of which would have sufficed to produce regional instability in the not-too-distant past. Today, their combination creates a formidable dynamic for armed conflict.
The contours of a future Middle East emerge
Events are moving fast in the Middle East. The hoped-for rapprochement between Russia and the U.S. that could bring an end to the war in Syria appears to have collapsed. Growing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia could spark a war at any moment. But the most explosive issue for this region of minorities is the prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurdistan.
GIS Dossier: Iran’s rise
Iran has methodically built up its influence in the Middle East to become one of the most important powers in the region. It has a growing foothold in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Qatar. Its rise has inflamed tensions with Saudi Arabia, while a nascent rapprochement with the U.S. has withered under President Donald Trump. It is stepping up military interventions abroad, but remains deeply divided at home. This edition of our Dossier series reviews how Iran got here and our experts’ predictions about what this means for the region and the world.
Iranians at odds as succession looms
Hassan Rouhani’s reelection as Iran’s president was greeted with euphoria by his reform-minded supporters, but has only sharpened divisions in a deeply polarized country. Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei may be frail and ailing, but he still dominates the Islamic Republic, and his conservative supporters are well-positioned to steer any succession. The new U.S. administration’s attempts to isolate Iran will only strengthen them.
Regional powers play with fire in Yemen
Islamic militants versus Islamic militants? The inventiveness of extremists when it comes to the wars they are waging in the Middle East and Africa seems inexhaustible. We may have thought that Islamic State was the last threshold of barbarism and the breakdown of traditional state structures. Now, however, even as the group metastasises in Libya, the Sinai Peninsu...
The implications of Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East
The prospects of an imminent historic agreement with Iran on its nuclear programme are having major repercussions across the Middle East. Iran is emboldened and sees itself playing a major role as it is welcomed back into the international community. The six Gulf Cooperation Countries feel threatened and abandoned by US foreign policy which has been weak and incons...
Hopes fade for closer ties between Iran and the US
Despite a partial lifting of American sanctions against Iran and a flurry of high-level talks between the two sides, there is little sign of any inter-party cooperation in the United States on common security issues including Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many experts are predicting that the Republican Party will take control of both houses of C...
Iran’s Geneva agreement could be key to resolving Middle East conflicts and terrorism
Agreement between the six global powers and Iran in November 2013 could be essential to Iran reclaiming its natural role as the power in the region. The United States has played an astute game and could achieve a hat-trick of wins gaining influence, reducing the power of Russia and China and winning new deals as Iran opens for business. Europe must wake up to this ...
Talks signal a turning point for Iran and the Middle East
Talks which could lead to Iran re-emerging on the global stage and asserting itself as a regional power in the Middle East are at a tantilising stage. News that an interim agreement had been reached was greeted in the West with the likelihood of more trade as Iranian sanctions are lifted. But there is still much work to done on the political fronts in America and I...