Changing scenarios in the Middle East maze
As Iran becomes stronger and more assertive in the Middle East, two blocs – pro- and anti-Iran – are beginning to take shape. This was exemplified by two high-profile summits in mid-February: one led by the U.S. in Warsaw, and the other in Sochi between Russia, Turkey and Iran. Although Iran’s rise is cause for concern, the question is what options a U.S.-Arab-Israeli alliance might have.
Iran and Israel’s proxy war in Syria escalates
The accidental downing of a Russian military plane by Syrian anti-missile defense, which coincided with Israeli air force jets’ presence in the area, highlights the danger of the increasingly open proxy warfare between Israel and Iran. The number of parties involved – Israel, Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah – points to the risk of the drawn-out Syrian conflict exploding into full-fledged regional war.
Iran’s rapprochement with Azerbaijan opens dangerous dynamics
The relentless rise of Iran is also making itself felt in the South Caucasus, a region ridden by border conflicts and great-power rivalry. The inroad is Azerbaijan. The small but oil-rich Caspian Sea state with a border issue with a neighbor is being intensely courted by Tehran and Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Israel, too, cultivates its relations with Baku. Russia’s traditional policy in its backyard – divide and rule, and sell weapons to all – may backfire under such circumstances.
The return of U.S. sanctions on Iran: consequences for the oil market
As the effects of reimposed U.S. sanctions are beginning to be felt in Iran, oil markets’ reaction has been measured. Tehran’s oil minister hopes that increased business with China will help his country protect its global market share.
GIS Dossier: Turkey and the Middle East
Ankara is still groping for the right policy mix in dealing with complex challenges to Turkey’s vital interests in the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region. A paradigm change, however, diverting its geopolitical attention away from Europe and NATO and toward its historic neighborhood, is already evident.
VIDEO: 2018 Global Outlook: Four dangerous dynamics in the Middle East | GIS: Global Trends Video Reports
Early 2018 finds the Middle East at a singular moment in its history. At a time when regional political and security structures are crumbling new, transactional alliances are emerging, which creates a formidable dynamic for armed conflict.
Geopolitics and Saudi Arabia’s cash flow
The Gulf states have not sufficiently adjusted their spending patterns to lower income from oil exports. Burdened by persistent and growing budget deficits, they are increasingly hard pressed to fend off geopolitical rivals such as Iran. The trend has serious and lasting consequences for the Middle East and North Africa.