For decades, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has been among the world’s most conflict-ridden regions. However, unlike in Asia, Latin America, or sub-Saharan Africa, no dominant regional power was able to establish itself here – with the exception of Egypt, until its defeat in the Six Day War of 1967. Since then, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have been competing for regional supremacy. The end of the East–West conflict in 1990 did not terminate this rivalry as such, but only changed its external conditions.
In the first two decades after the end of the Cold War, the non-Arab competitors gained a slight upper hand over Egypt and Saudi Arabia – until the post-2011 Arab uprisings not only shook the internal order of many of the region’s states, but also induced a reorganisation of regional and international relations. The decades-long struggle of the five competitors mutated into a Cold War between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the force of whose pull hardly a regional actor can escape.
The GIGA examines these and other areas in the context of regional and international relations in the Middle East and North Africa:
- What does this mean for a longer-term redefinition of the regional order?
- What role do actors outside the Middle East play in these processes?
- How do regional dynamics influence world politics?