Middle East Conflicts Today: Between Religion and Geopolitics

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


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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

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