Middle East Conflicts Today: Between Religion and Geopolitics

170
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-1-50-60
A. Shumilin (mideast@bk.ru),
Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences (IE RAS), 11/build. 3, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow, 125009, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article is an attempt to analyze the genesis of conflicts in the Middle East, the transformation of their nature over the past two decades. While in the first years after the World War II, the chain of the main conflict situations in the region was closed on the confrontation between the Arab countries and Israel, now something different is obvious: the regional centers of power (Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia) established by the end of the second decade of the 21st century confront each other in the context of geopolitical rivalry and contradictions associated with their common religion – Islam. This was caused by two titan shifts in the political landscape of the region: the Islamic Revolution in Iran (1979), which sharply exacerbated the confrontation along the Sunnism-Shiism line, and the end of the Cold War, the disappearance of the USSR (1991) as an ideologically motivated factor that influenced the situation in The Middle East and North Africa. The disagreements between the states of the region were significantly aggravated by the events of the Arab Spring. Today, the main conflicts there are developing in the dimension of intra-Islamic confrontation – both between Sunnis and Shiites, and within the Sunni segment of this religion, which is associated with the establishment of Turkey as a third center of power promoting the Islamist concept of the Muslim Brotherhood. The transformation of the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul into a mosque is becoming a symbol of Turkey’s political identity as an important part of the Islamic world.

Keywords: Middle East conflicts, Syria, Libya, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), Persian Empire, Ottomanism


REFERENCES

  1. Number of Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa from 2005 to 2019, by Conflict Intensity. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/262940/conflicts-in-the-middle-east-and-north-africa-by-intensity/ (accessed 14.07.2020).
  2. Chubin S. Iran and the Arab Spring: Ascendancy Frustrated. Gulf Research Center. GRC GULF PAPERS. September 2012. 52 p. Available at: https://carnegieendowment.org/files/Iran_and_Arab_Spring_2873.pdf (accessed 14.07.2020).
  3. Hinnebusch R. The Sectarian Revolution in the Middle East. Revolutions: Global Trends & Regional Issues, 2016, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 120-152. Available at: http://revjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/REV4/08_rev4_hinnebusch.pdf (accessed 15.07.2020).
  4. Policy of Zero Problems with our Neighbors, 2011. Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Available at: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/policy-of-zero-problems-with-our-neighbors.en.mfa#:~:text=In%20this%20context%2C%20the%20discourse,them%20as%20much%20as%20possible/ (accessed 15.07.2020).
  5. Gause F.G. III. Beyond Sectarianism: The New Middle East Cold War. Brookings Doha Center Analysis Paper, no. 11, July 2014. 28 p. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/english-pdf-1.pdf (accessed 15.07.2020).
  6. Milliken J. The Study of Discourse in International Relations: A Critique of Research and Methods. European Journal of International Relations, 1999, vol. 5 (2), pp. 225-254. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066199005002003 (accessed 15.07.2020).
  7. Export of the Islamic Revolution. Islamic revolution. Yesterday Today Tomorrow. 1979 (In Russ.) Available at: https://iran1979.ru/eksport-islamskoj-revolyucii/ (accessed 14.07.2020).
  8. Aarabi K. Beyond Borders. The Expansionist Ideology of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, January 2020. 68 p. Available at: https://institute.global/policy/beyond-borders-expansionist-ideology-irans-islamic-revolutionary-guard-corps (accessed 14.07.2020).
  9. Iranian Export of Revolution Doctrine and Implementation. Lt. Col (rtd.) Roni Cohen. The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Hudson Institute, Washington DC. Project Leader: Dr. Shmuel Bar. May 1, 2007. 63 p. Available at: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/35234384/iranian-export-of-revolution-doctrine-and-implementation (accessed 15.07.2020).
  10. Boghardt L.P. Gulf Fears of Iranian Subversion. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, April 2, 2015. Available at: https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/gulf-fears-of-iranian-subversion (accessed 15.07.2020).
  11. Lutz M. Iran’s Supreme Leader Calls Uprising an “Islamic Awakening”. Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2011. Available at: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2011-feb-04-la-fg-khamenei-iran-egypt-20110205-story.html (accessed 15.07.2020).
  12. Sadegh Zibakalam. The Landscape of the Arab Spring. The Arab Revolutions: Strategic Assessment 111, ed. 16, vol. 10, May 3, 2012. Available at: http://www.bitterlemons.org/international/previous.php?opt=1&id=378#1536 (accessed 12.07.2020).
  13. Aldroubi M. Iran’s Quds Force and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood plotted to form anti-Saudi alliance. The National (UAE), November 18, 2019. Available at: https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/mena/iran-s-quds-force-and-egypt-s-muslim-brotherhood-plotted-to-form-anti-saudi-alliance-1.939273 (accessed 12.07.2020).
  14. Tsaregorodtseva I.A. Politiko-pravovye kontseptsii ideologov egipetskogo dvizheniya “Brat'ya-musul'manE” [Political and legal concepts of the ideologists of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement]. Uchenye zapiski Kazanskogo universiteta. Seriya Gumanitarnye nauki, 2013, vol. 155, iss. 3, part 2, pp. 98-110. Available at: https://publications.hse.ru/mirror/pubs/share/folder/304zkhkq6m/direct/101162314.pdf (accessed 12.06.2020).
  15. King Abdullah II of Jordan. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the King talks about the situation in Iraq, and a post-Arafat Palestine. NBCNews.com – Hardball with Chris Matthews, December 09, 2004. Available at: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6679774/ns/msnbchardball_with_chris_matthews/t/king-abdullah-iijordan/#.UcV3GZymV9s (accessed 19.07.2020).
  16. Belfer M., Alshaikh Kh. Iran’s Clandestine War on the Kingdom of Bahrain: Saraya al-Ashtar and the Military Wing of Hezbolla Bahrain. King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Riyadh, 2019. 32 p. Available at: https://www.kfcris.com/pdf/09677d7a8899e33b05594dd8c0c433975d69199a5cf98.pdf (accessed 18.07.2020).
  17. Frantzman S.J. Iran is increasingly promoting antisemitic Houthi leader from Yemen. Iran’s role in Yemen gives it the ability to project power into the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait. The Jerusalem Post, May 27, 2020. Available at: https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/iran-news/iran-is-increasingly-promoting-antisemitic-houthi-leader-from-yemen-629430 (accessed 20.07.2020).
  18. Al-Zahid M. Can Iran turn itself into a “neo-Persian Empire”? Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS), May 28, 2015. Available at: https://futureuae.com/m/Mainpage/Item/1997/far-fetched-goal-can-iran-turn-itself-into-a-neo-persian-empire (accessed 25.07.2020).
  19. Comparison Results (Turkey vs Iran). GFP. Available at: https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-comparison-detail.asp?form=form&country1=turkey&country2=iran&Submit=COMPARE (accessed 20.07.2020).
  20. “We will Rise above the Level of Contemporary Civilizations”. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s speech, 10.11.2016. Available at: https://www.tccb.gov.tr/en/news/542/58944/yuce-milletimizle-birlikte-engelleri-asacak-ve-muasir-medeniyetler-seviyesinin-ustune-cikacagiz (accessed 27.07.2020).
  21. Cook S.A., Ibish H. Turkey’s Resurgence as a Regional Power Confronts a Fractured GCC. The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (AGSIW), December 18, 2019. 22 p. Available at: https://agsiw.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Steve-Cook_Ibish_Turkey_ONLINE-3.pdf (accessed 20.07.2020).
  22. Dorsey J.M. UAE-Turkish Rivalry Wreaks Regional Havoc in Libya and Syria. Modern Diplomacy, May 24, 2020. Available at: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/05/24/uae-turkish-rivalry-wreaks-regional-havoc-in-libya-and-syria/ (accessed 25.07.2020).
  23. Hinnebusch R. The Battle over Syria’s Reconstruction. University of Durham and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Issue Online, 28 February, 2020. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/1758-5899.12779 (accessed 25.07.2020).
  24. Tsukerman I. Will Israel Find Itself Facing Down Iran, Turkey, and the US in Libya? Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, July 27, 2020. Available at: https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/israel-libya-upport/ (accessed 27.07.2020).
  25. UN confirms Russian mercenaries are fighting in Libya: diplomats. Bangkok post, AFP, 7 May, 2020. Available at: https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1914024/un-confirms-russian-mercenaries-are-fighting-in-libya-diplomats (accessed 15.06.2020).
  26. Syrian mercenaries in Libya and the Erdogan-Muslim Brotherhood surprise. MENA Research and Study Center, 27.07.2020. Available at: https://mena-studies.org/syrian-mercenaries-in-libya-and-the-erdogan-muslim-brotherhood-surprise/ (accessed 28.07.2020).
  27. Khalifa Haftar declares himself ruler of Libya with “mandate” from the people. MiddleEastEye, 28 April, 2020. Available at: https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/khalifa-haftar-declares-himself-ruler-libya-mandate-people (accessed 27.05.2020).
  28. The eight Arab states that openly and unabashedly deal with Israel. TRT World, 6 February, 2020. Available at: https://www.trtworld.com/middle-east/the-eight-arab-states-that-openly-and-unabashedly-deal-with-israel‑33551 (accessed 26.07.2020).
  29. Joint Statement of the United States, the State of Israel, and the United Arab Emirates. The White House, August 13, 2020. Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/joint-statement-united-states-state-israel-united-arab-emirates/ (accessed 14.08.2020).
  30. Butler D., Gumrukcu T. Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal, Erdogan says. Reuters, August 14, 2020. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-emirates-turkey/turkey-says-history-will-not-forgive-uae-for-israel-deal-idUSKCN25A0ON (accessed 14.08.2020).
  31. Carpenter S. New Pipeline Deal Gives Europe Access To Eastern Mediterranean Gas Reserves, Angering Turkey. Forbes, January 2, 2020. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottcarpenter/2020/01/02/new-gas-pipeline-deal-gives-europe-access-to-eastern-mediterranean-reserves-angering-turkey/#6eceb5111c69 (accessed 20.07.2020).
  32. Walsh D., Kirkpatrick D.D. U.A.E. Pulls Most Forces from Yemen in Blow to Saudi War Effort. The New York Times, July 11, 2019. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/world/middleeast/yemen-emirates-saudi-war.html (accessed 21.07.2020).
  33. Duran B., Yilmaz N. Islam, Models and the Middle East: The New Balance of Power following the Arab Spring. PERCEPTIONS: Journal of International Affairs, 2013, vol. 18, iss. 4, pp. 139-170. Available at: https://dergipark.org.tr/tr/download/article-file/816037 (accessed 20.07.2020).

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Shumilin A. Middle East Conflicts Today: Between Religion and Geopolitics. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 50-60. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-1-50-60



Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment







Indexed

 

 

 

 

Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies

 

Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 4
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Financial Contagion Propagation in Europe under the Impact of Global Shocks
  • Regional Powers on the African Continent: Trends and Prospects
  • Investment Activity of the PRC in the Kyrgyz Republic
  • “Land Grabbing” Concept: Global and National Aspects
Submit an Article
INVITATION FOR PUBLICATION
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.