The crack widens


I wrote back in October last year that a crack was appearing in the Status Quo Bloc, because of differences of opinion (and subsequent action) between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. As I wrote at the time, the crack appeared because the Status Quo Bloc is not a traditional alliance, but merely a group of states brought together by shared interests. The Bloc was strongest when the Middle East’s only other real bloc was the Resistance Bloc, led by Iran. But the emergence of the Sunni Islamist Continuum has revealed divergent interests within the Status Quo Bloc. To the Saudis, the Resistance Bloc is the greater threat. To the Egyptians, the Sunni Islamist Continuum is the greater threat. 

There’s also mutual enmity between the Sunni Islamists and Resistance Bloc, typified by bloodshed in Syria. The Saudis have backed (some) Sunni Islamists in its proxy war with Iran, which has upset Egypt. Egypt has come to see the Resistance Bloc as an effective enemy of the Sunni Islamists, and so has taken some policy positions friendly to Iran, which has annoyed the Saudis.

Hence, the crack is widening, as this article describes.

About the only thing that will paper over the crack is strong Western (read: US) leadership. Because both the Resistance Bloc and the Sunni Islamist Continuum are inimicable to Western interests. With Trump in the White House, we’re in a new world. Who knows if he’ll be able to see the Middle East’s big picture?

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