Arab World: A cold war re-emerges

24.10.2011                      26.Tischrei. 5772

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Arab World: A cold war re-emerges

The underlying strategic contours of the Middle East remain largely unchanged; the contest between Iran and Saudi Arabia remains central.

Winston Churchill, speaking in the British House of Commons in 1922, discussed the transformative effect of the 1914-18 war on Europe. “Great empires have been overturned,” he said. “The whole map has changed, the modes of thought of men, the whole outlook on affairs.” "But", he continued, “as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short, we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.” Churchill was referring to the durability of the Irish question.
A sense of the weary re-emergence of previous patterns is apparent also in the revelations of the Iranian plot to kill Saudi ambassador Adel Jubair in Washington. The plot’s revelation casts the spotlight on a crucial fact underlying the upheavals that have shaken the Arab world this year: Namely, for all the sound and fury that the ‘Arab Spring’ has wrought, the underlying strategic contours of the Middle East remain largely unchanged. As the wave of popular discontent begins to draw back, so these structures are once again becoming apparent….