عنوان مقاله [English]
There is an emerging hierarchical order in the Middle East that is both unstable and is also a source of instability. In the current regional setting, the inherent instability of this order is the result of a confluence of four mutually reinforcing developments. First, the global context has entailed a steady departure, or weakening, of the United States as an active interested power in the Middle East, opening up space among local aspirants for regional hegemony. A second factor is the competition among regional powers not only for the expansion of regional influence but also their power and position in the larger global order. Israel and Saudi Arabia seek to maintain the global status quo, while Turkey and Iran perceive of themselves as counter-hegemonic powers and seek to undermine the Western-engineered global order and hierarchy. Third, while some regional middle powers are more pragmatic in their foreign policy choices (i.e. “pragmatic” middle powers), some form alliances on the bases of ideological or identity affinity (i.e. “allied” middle powers), further deepening and prolonging tensions. Fourth and finally, the collapse of central authority in several Arab states following the 2011 uprisings—in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen—has provided the perfect opportunity for the regional powers, and even some of the secondary regional states, to expand their influence through local proxies and non-state actors. The combined features of the regional order in the Middle East are likely to inhere instability and tensions for the foreseeable future.