The role of the U.S. as an off- or on-shore balancer in the Middle East has decreased in the past decade. This generated a higher degree of autonomy among powerful states in the Middle East regional security complex, enabling the emergence of a multipolar regional balance of power. There are four major regional powers in the Middle East today – Iran, Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia: a fifth, Egypt, is reviving. These actors’ interactions - as adversaries, friends or balancing partners - coupled with U.S. eclipse and increased Russian presence and influence, explain most political and strategic developments in the region. The major crises in the region are particularly intractable due to the overlay of regional power rivalry and balancing over local conflicts.
This paper seeks to present and analyze the current power structure and balance of power in the Middle East regional security complex; examine the drivers of policy in the main regional players and the interrelationships between them; and assess the potential for future change in the regional power structure.
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About the authors:
Joshua Krasna, New York University (NYU) Center for Global Affairs, Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), and the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies (MDC).
George Meladze, New York University (NYU) Center for Global Affairs.