Het Midden-Oosten in de Arabische winter

BERLIJN – Reizen verruimt de geest, luidt de oude uitdrukking. Dit geldt in het bijzonder voor het Midden-Oosten. Maar daar heden ten dage heen reizen kan zeer verwarrend zijn; ontwikkelingen die een paar maanden geleden onmogelijk voorstelbaar waren worden realiteit.

De jongerenopstand die in Tunis en Cairo begon in 2010/2011 is tot een einde gekomen (voor nu tenminste), alhoewel de regio er fundamenteel door veranderd is. De overwinning van de contrarevolutie en machtspolitiek (zoals in Egypte) lijkt slechts de oude orde te hebben hersteld; de politieke basis van het huidige regime is gewoonweg te wankel.

Ook opmerkelijk is de permanente verschuiving van de politieke as in de regio. Iran, met zijn nucleaire en hegemonische ambities, is het huidige centrum, terwijl het oude centrum (het Israëlisch-Palestijnse conflict) naar de achtergrond is gedrongen, als gevolg van de totaal nieuwe bondgenootschappen van belangen. Saudi-Arabië en Israël (die geen formele diplomatieke relatie hebben) zijn verenigd tegen Iran en tegen de mogelijkheid van een detente tussen de VS en Iran.

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