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Posts tagged ‘Turkey’

The Arab Spring and the Balance of Power in the Middle East

Kayhan Barzegar

By Kayhan Barzegar

The Arab Spring can be seen as a turning point in the regional balance of power of the Middle East. Previously, the “balance of power” was determined at the level of classic players—the states—and therefore was easier. However, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the roles of states are now combined with the “dynamics of internal politics”—making them much more complicated.

From the outset of the Arab Spring, the domestic socio-political issues of the Arab countries—democratization, political reform, Islamization, elimination of authoritarianism, establishment of a market economy and middle class, and human rights issues have become the priorities in these countries. This development has impacted the objectives of the regional players in the context of balance of power.

In these new circumstances, each of the regional and trans-regional players seeks to restrain threats and enhance its influence. Turkey and the West pursue a greater role in order to extend their political leadership. On the other hand, Iran, Russia, China, and even Saudi Arabia seek greater roles to contain threats and enhance their security. Therefore, factors such as “model,” “ideology,” and “economy” are all employed to enhance the roles of the players. Read more

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Values, Emotions and Strategy on the Nile

Chuck Freilich

Chuck Freilich

The Power & Policy Fellows’ Forum

By Chuck Freilich

We all rejoice when dictators fall and the prospects for democracy flourish. What has happened in Egypt and Tunisia is a regional earthquake and it may be far from over. An opening exists for a better regional future.

Dramatically, Egypt could become a moderate, stable, pro-Western democracy, committed to peace. Other outcomes, however, are also possible.

  • Egypt may remain a military dictatorship, or be taken over by some other strongman. The military’s role is as yet unclear. It has begun the reform process, but retained full control over it and clearly wishes to set limits. Just ten days were allotted for reforming the constitution, a ludicrous time period, and the military stated that elections will be held by September “circumstances permitting”. Read more
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Inshallah, Cairo will be more like Ankara than Tehran

Joshua W. Walker

The Power & Policy Fellows’ Forum

By Joshua W. Walker

As a longtime ally of the West and new partner of Iran and Syria, Turkey has been seeking the role of mediator and model in every available arena, including Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia. As a G-20 founding member, holder of a seat on the UN Security Council, European Union aspirant, and head of the Organization of Islamic Conference, Ankara has transformed itself into an international actor, capable of bringing considerable clout and influence to its regions. Often lost in the debates about Turkey and its potential as a model is the fact that Ankara did not transform itself overnight from a defeated post-Ottoman state led by Ataturk’s military to a flourishing market-democracy led by a conservative Muslim party. It has been almost a century in the making. Read more

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