An Autumn Abyss?

BERLIN – In the coming months, several serious regional economic and political crises could combine into one mega-watershed, fueling an intense global upheaval. In the course of the summer, the prospect of a perilous fall has become only more likely.

The drums of war are being banged ever more loudly in the Middle East. No one can predict the direction in which Egypt’s Sunni Islamist president and parliamentary majority will lead the country. But one thing is clear: the Sunni Islamists are decisively altering the region’s politics. This regional re-alignment need not be necessarily anti-Western, but it surely will be if Israel and/or the United States attack Iran militarily.

Meanwhile, civil war is raging in Syria, accompanied by a humanitarian catastrophe. To be sure, President Bashar al-Assad’s regime will not survive, but it is determined to fight until the end. Syria’s balkanization among the country’s diverse ethnic and religious groups is a clearly predictable result. Indeed, a Bosnia-type scenario can no longer be excluded, while the prospect of the Syrian government’s loss of control over its chemical weapons poses an immediate threat of military intervention by Turkey, Israel, or the US.

Moreover, the Syrian civil war has become a proxy in an openly declared battle for regional hegemony between Iran on one side and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the US on the other. Staying on the sidelines of this Arab-Western coalition, Israel is playing its cards close to its chest.