What has destabilised the Middle East?

Several factors and actors have contributed to destabilization in the Middle East over the past few years:

Arab Spring and Its Aftermath: The Arab Spring, which began in late 2010, led to widespread protests and uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. While initially driven by demands for political reform, greater freedoms, and socioeconomic justice, the aftermath of the Arab Spring has been marked by varying degrees of instability, including civil wars, regime changes, and increased sectarian tensions.

Civil Wars and Conflicts: Several ongoing civil wars and conflicts have ravaged the region, including the Syrian Civil War, the Yemeni Civil War, and the Libyan Civil War. These conflicts have resulted in immense human suffering, displacement, and the proliferation of non-state actors, including terrorist groups.

Proxy Conflicts and Regional Rivalries: The Middle East has become a battleground for proxy conflicts fuelled by regional rivalries, particularly between Iran and Saudi Arabia. These rivalries have manifested in various forms, including support for opposing factions in civil wars, proxy militias, and political interference in neighbouring countries.

Terrorism and Extremism: Terrorist organizations such as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and al-Qaeda have exploited power vacuums and sectarian tensions to establish footholds and carry out attacks across the region. The rise of extremist ideologies and the proliferation of armed groups have contributed to instability and insecurity.

Foreign Intervention and Military Interventions: Foreign interventions by global and regional powers have further complicated dynamics in the Middle East. Examples include Russia’s military intervention in Syria, the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen, and Türkiye’s military operations in Syria and Iraq. These interventions have often exacerbated conflicts and deepened divisions within and between countries.

Sectarianism and Ethnic Tensions: Sectarian and ethnic tensions have been exploited by various actors to advance their interests and gain support. The Sunni-Shia divide, in particular, has played a significant role in shaping regional dynamics, leading to proxy conflicts and sectarian violence in countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Resource Competition and Economic Challenges: Competition over natural resources, including oil and water, has fuelled tensions between countries in the region. Economic challenges, such as high unemployment rates, poverty, and corruption, have also contributed to social unrest and political instability.

The combination of internal grievances, regional rivalries, foreign interventions, and socioeconomic challenges has created a complex and volatile environment in the Middle East, leading to continued instability and conflict.


I find the region interesting to learn about, and at the same time it is important for social science students, particularly IR students to study a range of different regions as the events and geopolitics of that region often are not localised, they have widespread consequences which definitely affect other regions, including in less direct ways


interesting indeed, there are however a lot of middle eastern countries that are doing so well for themselves.


There’s so much happening in the Middle East, it’s both fascinating and kind of overwhelming, isn’t it? I’ve been trying to keep up with the news, but there’s just so many layers to it all.
Do you think there’s any hope for stability in the region in the near future, considering all these complex factors at play?


Colonial powers have also exacerbated tensions throughout the Middle East when they were drawing borders and had no regard for the differences in countries and places with factors, such as religion.


I feel like this should be taught way more in schools than it is now. Like, none of this was covered in my school, not to mention university

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