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Saudi Foreign Minister Explains New Middle East

Posted on March 9 2010 5:24 pm
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by Barry Rubin

Here’s today’s evidence that we are now living in Middle East 2.0 instead of the old version.

First, a definition:

Middle East 1.0: Characterized by Arab nationalist domination, competition among the strongerArab states to lead the region and by the weaker ones trying to survive those campaigns. Arab-Israeli conflict is a real enterprise. Roughly 1952-2000 or so. International aspect: Cold War competition between the United States and USSR and, near the end, US as sole superpower.

Middle East 2.0: Characterized by a battle between Arab nationalist regimes and revolutionary Islamists. An Iran-led bloc (Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, Iraqi insurgents) seeking regional hegemony. Israel and most Arab states have parallel interests; Arab states (except for Syria) put low priority on conflict. International aspect: Will the West support the moderates or appease the radicals.

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