Regional Powers and the Production of Insecurity in the Middle East

What impact have regional powers had on shaping regional order in the Middle East? What role will they play in the future of the regional system? Following the US-led invasion of Iraq and the failure of the USA to establish regional order, the area has witnessed a series of attempts by regional states to project power at the regional level and reshape the regional system around their own interests. This report surveys recent efforts by Iran, Qatar, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to influence the dynamics of this system. The report concludes that such strategies have generally failed to recognize or accommodate the security interests of rival regional states and their societies, and they have thus resulted in regional power rivalries, encouraged by external powers, that have led to a new level of destructive civil wars, weapons proliferation, state fragmentation and humanitarian crises. To stem the continuing consequences of these geopolitical rivalries, external powers and the international community need to work with regional states to manage ongoing conflicts, define norms for regional power projection and establish inclusive regional negotiations to forge the basis for a new order.

Rome, IAI, September 2018, 19 p.
Working Papers 11
Publication date: 

1. External Powers and Regional Order
2. Towards a New Geopolitics of Regional Powers in the Middle East
3. Iran’s Regional Strategy: Gaining Leverage in Regional Arab Politics
4. Turkey’s Shifting Regional Relationships
5. The Arab Uprisings and Qatar’s Moment of Regional Leverage
6. The Saudi-led Counter-Revolution and New Regional Conflicts

Research area