Further destabilisation in the Middle East possible according to new report

The crisis in Egypt is already having a negative effect on the Syrian civil war and contributing to further destabilisation of the wider Middle East according to a major new report.

‘The Remaking of Syria, Iraq and the Wider Middle East’ report suggests that important as events in Cairo are, they distract Western attention from the much bigger game being played out in Syria which significantly risks changing the Levant after a century of relative territorial stability. Professor Stansfield who is also an RUSI’s senior associate fellow analysed the impact the Syrian civil war could have on the future of the Middle East state system across the Levant.

The report warns that ongoing conflict may prompt the of the region’s twentieth-century defined states. Professor Stansfield outlines how Lebanon, Jordan – and the interests of Israel and Turkey – could all be profoundly affected; but the most important casualty of the war is potentially Iraq, with inter-communal conflicts driven by deeply held and murderous sectarian hatreds that continue to stalk its today.

Further destabilisation in the Middle East possible according to new report

RUSI Briefing The Remaking of Syria, Iraq and the Wider Middle East

Professor Michael Clarke, RUSI’s Director-General, in his foreword to the study writes: ‘A year ago, the war in Syria might have been constrained by strong Western action, but it is increasingly clear that the world is confronting a crisis that extends far beyond Syria, threatening to deteriorate into a regional conflict. Now part civil war, part proxy war, it has also become a great power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and between the US, Russia and China.’

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‘But with each passing month the conflict becomes more complex and diplomatically intractable, and the renewed crisis in Egypt will only make it worse,’ Clarke writes.

‘While the agony within Syria looks set to continue for some time to come, the Levant is on the verge of recasting itself around the epicentre of the crisis. Syria might eventually emerge from this trauma more or less intact as a state, but the same cannot be said for its neighbourhood. The winners and losers from Assad’s civil war will extend far beyond Damascus, Homs and Aleppo.’

To read the briefing paper The Remaking of Syria, Iraq and the Wider Middle East: The End of the Sykes-Picot State System? in full please visit www.rusi.org/widermideastjul2013


We are looking at the possibility of a regional collapse. And since the current conflict in Syria is also a great-power proxy conflict, there is the threat of escalation involving the great-powers once Israel becomes involved. The reason for this is that Israel represents a different civilization. It is the intersection of civilizations that provides the flashpoint for great-power wars.