Major Regional States in the Middle Eastern Zones of Instability

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-9-28-36

D. Malysheva, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation. (


The article analyzes the policy of three major regional states – Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey in the Middle Eastern zones of instability which emerged by the end of 2010 under the influence of the so-called Arab Spring and due to complex political transformation processes in the region. The estimation is given to the regional imbalances that have arisen as a result of armed confrontations (in Libya, Syria and Yemen). The author investigates both Saudi Arabia’s “conflict policy” and its governmental efforts – made mainly on religious grounds – to build a multinational coalition ("Islamic alliance"). Risks and challenges resulting from the confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran are identified in relation to regional security. The specificity of the Turkish conflict strategy in the Middle Eastern zones of instability is revealed either. On the basis of the major regional states’ strategy analysis, a conclusion is drawn on the existence of serious obstacles to their cooperation in the direction of overcoming security imbalances in the Middle East. The region has entered the period of a prolonged turbulence which is characterized by such dangerous manifestations as civil wars, criminalization of Arab societies, increasing activities of radical Islamist groups, the growth of terrorism and cross-border delinquency. The geographical outline of the Middle East is rapidly changing, the region is in phase of a new geopolitical reconstruction which includes both the collapse of territorial integrity of some states (Iraq, Libya, Syria) and the emergence of new ethnic (Kurdish) enclaves or religious-territorial units (a self-proclaimed “Islamic State”). Saudi Arabian military and political presence in the conflict zones of the Middle East has resulted in a political chaos together with deep regression in the social and economic sphere of the countries involved, a split along the line of inter-religious and inter-ethnic relations. Ankara's policies in the Middle East zones of instability will maintain close liaison with internal political processes in Turkey itself. The creation of long-term strategic alliance between Turkey and Saudi Arabia seems to be very problematic as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies do not trust Turkey, let alone Iran. Positive prospects of such a union are outweighed by historical contradictions that divide Turkey, Iran and the Saudi Arabia.


the Middle East, major regional states, the zones of instability, conflicts, “Islamic alliance”, regional imbalance 


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For citation:
Malysheva D. Major Regional States in the Middle Eastern Zones of Instability. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2016, vol. 60, No 9, pp. 28-36.

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