The New Middle East Order

Sometime this month, President George W. Bush will – reluctantly – announce a new policy for the United States in Iraq. A new policy is needed not only in order to halt America’s drift into impotence as it tries to prevent Iraq from spiraling into full-scale civil war, but also because the map of power in the Middle East has changed dramatically.

That map has been in constant flux for the last 60 years, during which the main players – Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Israel, and Iran – have formed and broken alliances. Now, something like a dividing line is emerging, and if Bush finally begins to understand the region’s dynamics, he may be able to craft a policy with a chance of success.

This regional realignment is typified by the emergence of a de facto alliance that dare not speak its name. Israel and Saudi Arabia, seemingly the most unlikely of allies, have come together to contain their common enemy: Iran, with its mushrooming influence in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Iran not only threatens Israel (and the region) with its desire for a nuclear capability and its Shi’a proxy militants; it is also seeking to usurp the traditional role of moderate Sunni Arab regimes as the Palestinians’ defenders.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To continue reading, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/vnRA7R6;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.