Traditional adversaries in the Middle East come together in a bid to reorder the region’s balance of power.
Provisionally cemented by the fight against ISIS, alliance networks in the Middle East are now reconfiguring themselves quickly. The Turkish offensive in Syria launched on October 8th has accelerated this new Great Game of leagues and agreements: former enemies are uniting (the Kurds and Syrian government forces, Israel and Saudi Arabia) and historical allies are clashing (Turkey and the United States).
In this competition for influence, the United States is losing ground while Russia is gaining momentum. The last Putin-Erdogan summit in Sochi highlighted the central role played by Russia in the regional balance of power. The Russian president is claiming the role of moderator between his Syrian ally Assad and his Turkish friend Erdogan.
The Trump presidency is losing its credibility in the region, even among its historical allies like Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The winners are still to be named, but the losers are already known: the United States and their European allies.
Here is my paper on New Eastern Europe: Bret NEE Middle East