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The Middle East uncertainty and the non-Arab factor

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Shehab Al Makahleh 

The world today is witnessing a state of uncertainty because we are living in the transitional period between the existing world order since the period following the fall of the Berlin Wall and its prevailing alliances, and a new world order that has begun to emerge from the east. This transitional period took a great deal in shaping the nature of alliances and the shape of the new world order after some countries lost confidence in the American role they had relied on for decades. The new alliances are built on the dynamics of deconstruct and restructure to redraw the map of the new Middle East.

Therefore, the transitional period from a declining world to a rising world is bound to witness more geopolitical bumps, quarrels, violence and conflict, in which the confrontation, between agents and not the original players, is open and not clandestine. Central and Eastern Africa, to the areas adjacent to the Russian and Chinese borders will be the scene of political violence, extremism and terrorism supported by countries that will not be afraid to declare this support in a blatant way to drain the countries that seek to get out of the crucible of the old world order in preparation for the formation of a regional and global mosaic on religious and sectarian bases more than what is prevalent at present, a prelude to upcoming wars aimed at liquidation national states in these regions.

The Arab countries do not want to enter into a confrontation no matter what because they have suffered for decades from the consequences of wars, crises and conflicts that have affected their economies and policies. The total output of the Arab countries combined is equal to the GDP of the United Kingdom. According to World Bank figures, the gross domestic product of Arab countries reached 2.5 trillion US dollars at the end of the year 2020. Here, we internalise that the Arab countries have begun to realise that it is inevitable to get out of the cycle of global conflicts in the Middle East without turning inward and cooperating with each other to achieve economic and technological growth that provides job opportunities for Arab youth who are fed up with the high rates of local and national unemployment amidst low purchasing power and high inflation levels.

The repercussions of the Arab Spring have ravaged the balance of traditional forces in the region and changed the geopolitical map of strategic axes and alliances, and the current situation, which has been marred by a state of distrust in the American role in the region after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, is fraught with intense polarisation, between strategies and counterstrategies to enhance influence and gain footholds, riding the ideological chaos of arming, training and other extremist elements in preparation for the intervention of new players in the affairs of the region.

These transformations coincided with the rise of non-Arab regional powers, as they became the most prominent player in this tug-of-war after the first wave of the Arab Spring revolutions. Non-Arab powers have become a key player in the map of new regional alliances and in Arab domestic affairs. If we review the map of the alliances of non-Arab powers in the Middle East (Turkey, Iran and Israel), we find that they are harmonious with each other and consistent to protect their interests first, unlike the Arab alliances that do not draw a coherent, effective and dynamic strategy that enables them to manage their conflicts and disputes.

After decades of turmoil and instability, the Middle East region, and the Arab countries in particular, are witnessing the beginning of a more dangerous and more sensitive phase in terms of the birth of regional axes of major countries with vital interests and economic ambitions in the region amidst increasing trends of corruption, and social disparity.

All indications manifest that the Middle East is still far from political and economic stability, and that the increasing state of chaos and turmoil may yield to more severe conflicts, and keep the region’s doors open for more stark interventions.

In the midst of the formation of axes in the region, and the involvement of more parties, the important question that may rise is the role of the international parties, especially the United States, Russia, China and European Union, which are expected to play an important role as each of them has interests due to the strategic location of the Middle East and its natural resources.

It is remarkable that most of these super countries have vital relations with conflicting regional states, benefit from their disputes. Such great powers seek to expand at the expense of the conflicting parties, turning the Middle East to more vulnerable arena than ever with expectation of more intense conflicts in the near future, that would drive international interventions.

This may expose the countries of the region to further collapse and economic crises, and lead to influx of large population masses to other countries and forcing them to migrate, with no decisive end of the state of instability in the region which has been worn out of wars and conflicts for many decades.