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Transition in the Middle East: Transition to What?

James M. Dorsey

National Security, Vol 1:1 August 2018, p. 84-108

The Middle East and North Africa are embroiled in multiple transitions, involving social, economic and political change at home, and struggles for power across the region dominated by the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The often volatile and violent transitions amount to battles for survival of autocratic regimes and confrontations between either counterrevolutionary or autocratic forces, who oppose political change and see limited and controlled reform as a survival strategy, and forces seeking fundamental change of economic and political systems. The battles are overlaid by great power competition in a world in which the balance between the United States, China and Russia is in flux and regional powers like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Israel are flexing their muscles. While the name of the game is beyond doubt transition, the question remains: transition to what?

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