Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, and Iran are insecure nations with powerful leaders who perceive their homelands under persistent threat. Reaching a psychological milestone, the removal of Western sanctions brings to life the reality of Iran’s improved relationship with the West. In turn, Saudi, Israeli, and Turkish leadership likely feel increasingly vulnerable as they watch Western support appear to falter. Because the impact of Iranian oil on oil prices undermines the Saudi budget, which serves broader Western interests, oil producers like Saudi Arabia will be particular fearful of growing Western-Iranian cooperation
When insecure leaders perceive a coming threat, they often act in irrational and counterproductive ways to grasp for some sense of security. Faced with civil discontent and expanding terrorist threats across the region, Middle Eastern leaders cannot bear the loss of US support against their revivals. Unfortunately, the Middle East suffers from a secretive nature and a complex web of underhanded dealings designed to undermine their revivals. It is important to recognize Iraq, for example, essentially booby trapped its military to secure US military aid.
Given recent exchanges between Saudi Arabia and Iran, there is great concern that Middle Eastern powers will actively undermine their regional security to guarantee Western military support.
Western powers have interests in the Middle East as a region, yet the US and the West have too often found themselves entangled in the rivalries of their regional allies. Thus far, Middle Eastern nations have used their alliances with Western partners to shield themselves from their regional rivals and the consequences of their sabotaging.
Although protection from mutual revivals is the traditional reason for entering an alliance, alliances in the modern International Community do not function in the same manner. Rarely do two countries lack mutual interests in a globalized world where all nations interact in a complex dynamic. This makes it nearly impossible for world powers to simply “pick a side.”
The US may be highly supportive of Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, but it still must eventually develop a functional relationship with its revivals, such as Iran.
Where widespread terrorism is already a consequence of Middle Eastern leadership sowing violence and chaos to secure support, efforts to secure Western support against Iran could mean stoking the historic rivalry between Sunnis and Shiites to spark a global sectarian war. In other words, Western allies in the Middle Eat may well allow, or even encourage, security threats in the region to degenerate to the point the West feels compelled to intervene.
Escalation of Western intervention in Middle Eastern conflicts is not in the interests of Western interests while Middle Eastern powers cannot rely on the political willingness of Western powers to intervene.
Quite frankly, the problems in the Middle East cannot be overcome until Middle Eastern powers address the interests of their Peoples and settle their grievances against revivals. Abusing Western intervention to perpetuate rivalries will only perpetuate uncertainty and violence in the Middle East.
The insecure need a sense of security to react in a constructive manner. When dealing with revivals, however, they often overreact and rely too heavily on retaliation, which only reinforces their mutual distrust.
Given democratic forces threaten the power of regional leaders, Western allies cannot secure the power of regional leaders nor can they be entangled in regional infighting. What Western powers can do is help clarify when and how they intend to support their Middle Eastern allies.
Instead of abandoning the Iran Nuclear Deal in response to ballistic missile tests, the Obama Administration has chosen to punish those responsible with targeted sanctions, which helps aid Iranian moderates in their fight to wrestle control over Iran away from hardliners. Although this approach will provoke hardliners within the Iranian government to lash out and protect their power, it can be used to disarm Iran as a threat to the region.
In turn, targeted strategies can be leveraged to help encourage diplomatic engagement between rivals, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, thereby fostering some sense of security among revivals.
Read old posts