Transformations in the Middle East: Challenges for the New U.S. Administration

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah - The Middle East of 2020 is far different from 2016. The past four years have witnessed political pressure to contain, isolate, and destabilize Iran and its proxies, together with economic sanctions that have had a deep impact on Iran's economy. They also saw an unprecedented activist policy in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts, with the presentation of a comprehensive peace plan, which led to normalization of relations between Israel and a number of Arab states. In the past four years, no Arab regime has fallen to the Islamic Jihadist wave, and those which witnessed a change produced a seemingly more democratic government, such as in Sudan and Algeria. However, many Arab states are plagued by subversive activities carried out by extreme Muslim fundamentalist groups or by Iranian-sponsored terrorist groups. Syria has undergone a de facto partition into three main areas: the Kurdish region in northeast Syria under the U.S. umbrella, the Jihadist enclave in Idlib under Turkish military protection, and the rest of Syria where Bashar Assad rules with the active assistance and involvement of Iran and its proxies. The fact that Hizbullah controls Lebanese politics pushes away Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf states, which now deny Lebanon the generous financial assistance given in the past, thus generating an unprecedented economic crisis. Today, Lebanon is being emptied by its elite, who are heading to Europe and the U.S. The writer, a special Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center, was former Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.

2020-12-31 00:00:00

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