Middle East and North Africa

Net Assessment of the Middle East and North Africa

Dec. 2, 2015 Modern Middle Eastern states were largely formed by the British and French starting at the conclusion of World War I. The region today is struggling with a deep divide between declining secular regimes and emerging Islamist non-state actors.

The Middle East today is defined by an Arab world steeped in the anarchy of dissolving secular states and proliferating Islamist armed non-state actors. These entities consist of different Muslim sects, the largest of which is composed of Sunnis. Amid the diverging interests, Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State are the main contenders for Sunni Arab leadership. Meanwhile, the three non-Arab powers – Turkey, Iran and Israel – are trying to manage the regional commotion according to their national interests. From a distance, the United States want...

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