Single title

Tinder Diplomacy? Questioning Alignments in Middle Eastern Geopolitics

Mediterranean Dialogue Series no. 23

The Regional Program Political Dialogue South Mediterranean of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung conducted a snap survey among a group of 20 Middle East experts about the positions of some of the most important regional actors and their positions on key regional security issues. The aggregated results of this non-representative survey are depicted in the publication by Kristina Kausch, providing a glimpse of the approximate thematic alignments of key regional (largely governmental) actors on some of the most relevant regional themes.

In an environment of global geopolitical transition, long-standing patterns of partnership between states erode. At the same time, the multiple uncertainties over how the world of tomorrow will be governed, by whom, and under which norms, favors interest-based cooperation among geopolitical actors alongside more structural partnerships. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the past decade has seen both erosion and consolidation of long-standing partnerships, and the emergence of a range of interest-based cooperation. Moreover, multi-polarity and diffusion of power lead to more, often conflicting coalitions, adding up to a complex web of overlapping alignments and antagonisms.

Are the traditional patterns of alignment in the Middle East replaced, or flanked, by new patterns of coalitions, and how durable are these? What are the key factors that bring states and other regional actors to align or cooperate with each other today? To which degree do shared interests determine partnerships?