August 19, 2013
MIDEAST HOT SPOTS
The Arab Spring is only two years old, but in that brief period there have been myriad seismic events, from Libya to Iraq in the northern crescent, coups and counter-coups, massive demonstrations, elections held and elections nullified, horrific violence and civil war, sectarian confrontation and dozens of terrorist acts. For a long time no identifiable pattern could be discerned. Recently, however, evidence of a strategic realignment taking place in the Middle East has emerged, especially in the southern crescent from Egypt through Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states. Should this emerging pattern be consolidated, the region will look very different than it did before the Arab Spring. U.S. interests: In the absence of a strong set of U.S. policies in the region, traditional allies may be forming their own alliances, even if not so stated, with limited input from Washington. These new alignments can serve U.S. interests in the Middle East by preserving a core group of stable and politically moderate nations even as Washington’s influence in the region is weaker than at any time since the end of World War II.