Middle East politics

Middle East politics
The region, one of the cradles of civilization, is going through a turbulent period of historic realignment. Its powers are vying for political, military, economic and religious dominance with local players and outside actors. Armed conflicts, mainly civil wars, are challenging the permanence of states whose borders were drawn arbitrarily in the early 20th century, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

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Russian peacekeeping forces at a checkpoint in Nagorno-Karabakh

Iran’s choices in the Caucasus

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, recently halted by a Russia-backed cease-fire, exposed a new balance of foreign interests in the region. Iran has faced a difficult choice: whether to back a Shia Muslim Azerbaijan that is also receiving support from Israel and Turkey. The prospect of Israeli access to Iran’s northern border causes concern, as does agitation among the country’s sizable Azeri minority.

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