The Middle East is in the midst of a stormy period of upheaval. The process began in Iran, after the revolution there gave birth to a Shi’ite dynamic that even now influences the entire region. This dynamic brought together radical Islamic forces that had smoldered under the surface since the collapse of the last caliphate, the Ottoman Empire. Radical Islam, in its several different forms, views Islamic governance as the solution to the ills of the region and to the weakness of the Muslims in the world, and as a preferred alternative to the modern world order of nation states. When the British and the French divided up the region a hundred years ago – according to their needs – they created artificial states, some of which have now ceased to exist, and some of which are facing collapse. Various forces that seemed to have disappeared, as a result of repression by the dictatorial regimes ruling the region’s states, have resurfaced. In many areas, one’s family, tribe, ethnic community, and religion have once more become the chief loci of identity and power, eclipsing the state.
Major General (Ret.) Yaakov Amidror is the Ann and Greg Rosshandler Senior Fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and a senior fellow at JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy. He has served as National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, head of the National Security Council, commander of the IDF Military Colleges, and head of the research division of the IDF Intelligence Corps.