By George Friedman
The Middle East has assumed a different shape and structure in recent years. Nowhere is this more visible than in the April 4 meeting in Turkey between Russia, Iran and Turkey. This group has become critical in defining the Middle East. It is not necessarily a cohesive group, and its staying power is uncertain. But for the moment, the United States, formerly the defining power of the region, is moving to the margins, and a new architecture has emerged.
The change was rooted in two events: the defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Arab Spring. IS was defeated by U.S. troops and Iraqi Shiite irregular militias. The Iraqi militias were supported and in many cases led by the Iranians, who are also Shiites. When IS shattered, the Iranians gained a dominant role in shaping Iraqi foreign policy.
The second event was the Arab Spring, which triggered an uprising in Syria in which the majority Sunni population challenged the Alawite regime