After the Cold War
The end of the Cold War marked the end of adversary patterns of alignment in the Middle East. It had been easier to interpret the geopolitics of the region when it was clear whether a particular government could be reliably classified as an ally of either the United States or the Soviet Union, and most of its specific foreign policy initiatives could be deduced from this fact alone. This overarching framework lasted for almost half a century, and its disappearance in the early 1990s created an atmosphere of uncertainty. In the Middle East, two broad endeavors emerged to fill the void created by the absence of bipolarity: the first involved an emergent American unipolarity that exerted hegemonic control over the region as a whole, and reached a climax with the unified response to the 1990 Iraqi conquest and annexation of Kuwait.