Understanding the Emerging Geopolitics of Middle East

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The security and political situation of Middle East and northern Africa remain volatile. As existing balance of power in the region is in transition, we are on the look out for emerging patterns that provide clues for the shape of future alliances and balance of power. The debate of key powers on the contentious issue of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya is one such example. The following reference articles have helped us issue this alert.

Analysis

 

The first key pillar of the existing balance of power to fall in the region was Egypt. The second critical foundation of the current balance in the Islamic world is Sunni Saudi Arabia. PoliTact is paying close attention to the planned Day of Rage on March 11 in Saudi Arabia, and to events in Bahrain and Yemen. See below a list of key patterns we have been able to decipher:

  • The powers that appear to be gaining, and can exploit the change underway, are Shiite Iran and Sunni Al Qaeda. However, established powers are already at war with the non-state actors represented by AQ, and every effort is being made to counter the other emerging regional power, Iran.
  • The security of Israel is at risk like never before, and it is likely to make aggressive moves to shift the focus of the unfolding revolutions in the region inwards, and by turning in to a Shiite-Sunni battle instead.Israel and US are closely monitoring the role of Iran and for signs if extremists group are planning to exploit the situation or to gain an upper hand. With Middle East Peace Process deadlocked since last year, the possibility of unilateral declaration of Palestinian state remains on the horizon.
  • The international debate over establishing a no-fly zone over Libya, and the positions of various global and regional powers, offer clues to the shape of future alliances. So far China, Russia, Brazil, Germany, India and Turkey have resisted the imposition of no-fly zone over Libya and want to give diplomacy and sanctions more time to work. Additionally, key international players are in agreement on the need for a UN mandate before any military action can take place in Libya. PoliTact will soon be releasing an interpretation of the positions of key regional and global players on this issue.
  • For many powers, getting rid of Qaddafi has become necessary. The Libyan leader is likely to become more dangerous if he prevails, consider the case of former Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein. If Qaddafi appears to be gaining an upper hand against the forces of opposition, more likely than not, US and western support would be extended to rebels.