Managing a New Middle-East Order
Ongoing shifts in alliances in the region are being driven partly by Iran’s growing influence. But the real story is in the eastern Mediterranean, where the development of major gas reserves could lead to deep cooperation or breed further conflict.
TEL AVIV – Across the Middle East, alliances are shifting in unexpected ways. What does the emerging configuration mean for a region that is seemingly eternally walking a thin line between war and peace?
The ongoing shifts are largely driven by Iran’s growing influence. Gulf countries, fearing that the United States, their longtime ally, is unwilling to do enough to stem Iran’s rise, are simultaneously reaching out to the Islamic Republic and moving toward deeper security ties with Israel. Meanwhile, the historically close relationship between regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is becoming increasingly tense.
But Iran is not the only factor. In the eastern Mediterranean, the discovery of energy reserves in Israeli, Cypriot, and Egyptian waters over the past decade has brought together old enemies. Jordan has a 15-year agreement to buy gas from Israel, despite political tensions between the two countries.