“Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Europe’s Uncertain Role in Middle Eastern Geopolitics”, Riccardo Alcaro (IAI, Italy)

IAI Commentaries, 18:28, May 2018.

The Middle East is experiencing a reconfiguration of power. As has often been the case throughout the history of this troubled area of the world, external powers have been key contributing drivers in these processes. Russia’s intervention in the Syrian civil war, in particular, has consolidated a power bloc centred on Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Similarly, the anti-Iran coalition made up of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates owes much of its bellicosity towards Iran to support from the United States.

Europe has thus far played a secondary role in these ongoing realignments. The reason by no means lies in a lack of strategic interests. Ranging from security, to energy and normative concerns, Europe has much at stake in the region.

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