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The “Arab Spring” and the New Geo-Strategic Environment in the Middle East

Contrary to the evaluation of several political leaders and analysts, the new Islamic governments that have been elected in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in the aftermath of the Arab Spring do not follow the zealous Islamic Iranian model. Rather, they tilt more to the Turkish Islamic democratic system. Significantly, the new Muslim Brothers’ regime under president Morsi in Egypt has adopted a balanced realistic policy in domestic, regional and international affairs. While giving Shi’i Iran a cold shoulder, Morsi is inclined to play a leading role in a new regional Sunni-Muslim coalition with Saudi Arabia and Gulf Emirates, and Turkey, the major Sunni Muslim power. Although the would-be Ankara-Cairo new axis will be cautious not to alienate Tehran, it will probably make efforts to contain Iran’s attempts to create a Shi’i crescent in the region to control the oil resources in the Gulf. Turkey and Egypt will try to reduce Iran’s advances in Iraq and Syria by fostering their Sunni Muslim communities and helping the Syrian Muslims to topple the Alawi regime. Finally the Ankara-Cairo strategic axis, backed by most Sunni-Muslim regimes and in coordination with Obama’s new administration, is likely to induce Israel to settle the Palestinian issue.

The Arab Spring and the New Geo-Strategic Environment in the
Moroccans hold signs during a peaceful march to show solidarity with Tunisians and mark the first anniversary of the Arab Spring revolution in Rabat.

It is still premature to fully evaluate the consequences of the Arab Spring’s uprisings and upheavals, as well as their impacts on the new emerging geo-strategic posture in the Middle East. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to tentatively outline and examine the unfolding developments in the region, concerning these upheavals and their possible repercussions on the geo-strategic environment. In this regard, it is important: a) to briefly trace the new trends of Islamization and democratization in several Arab countries, notably Egypt; b) to explore whether either of these trends follow, or tilt, either toward the radical Islamic Iranian model (as some Israeli policymakers have claimed), or toward the pragmatic Islamic Turkish example, or to neither of them; c) to delineate the impact of these trends on the regional policies of both Turkey and Iran; d) to assess the effects of the “Arab Spring” upheavals on Arab countries relations with Israel, and the USA; e) to evaluate the consequences of a possible Israel-Iranian war on the regional balance of power and geo-strategic developments, including the energy issue; f) finally, to critically observe Israel’s regional policies, notably concerning the Palestinian issue vis-à-vis the Arab Spring’s eruption.

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