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  • Arab Spring and the Non-Arabs of West Asia

    Iran, Israel and Turkey have adopted a two pronged approach to deal with the Arab Spring: avoid the negative consequences of the uprisings while at the same time deriving mileage to further their interests in an uncertain neighbourhood.

    September 07, 2012

    Rajat Dubey asked: What will be the short and long term effect of Arab turmoil and growing confrontation with Turkey on the strategic position of Israel?

    Rumel Dahiya replies: Although Israel did not have many friends to count upon in the region, it was in a reasonably comfortable situation till 2009 in view of friendly relations with Turkey, stable relations with Egypt and Jordan, and fissures among the Palestinians and a weak Syria to contend with. Even other Arab countries were less hostile towards Israel than before. However, the "street" in the countries neighbouring Israel continued to be by and large hostile towards it. Deterioration of relations with Turkey weakened Israel's position in the region since Turkey was gaining in strength and influence. Israel still felt confident of its security because of its military strength and unstinted support of the US.

    The Arab Spring or Arab Turmoil has disturbed the geo-political balance in the region. Egypt has now come under the sway of the conservative forces. It is expected that the new dispensation in Egypt will be less accommodating of Israel's security and diplomatic concerns despite the fact that it will need external (read US) financial assistance to be able to improve economic condition of the masses. The Egyptian military's salience in decision-making is bound to come down over time and Egypt's policy towards Israel will be dictated more and more by the popular perception at home. However, an armed conflict between the two countries is not expected in short to medium term due to asymmetry of power between the two countries.

    The Iran factor, unless Israel decides to undertake strikes on Iranian nuclear installations, will work to its advantage. Israel may be hoping for fragmentation of Syria on ethnic lines following a civil war, but the outcome may be different and Muslim Brotherhood may assume power upon the fall of the current regime. This will not be a welcome development for Israel. Turkey's ambitions of gaining a leadership role in the region have met with some headwinds in past months and it will remain embroiled in diplomatic stand off with some EU countries and will have to make difficult choices with regard to Syria. It will also be in a difficult situation if Israel decides on striking Iranian nuclear facilities to slow down and disrupt its march towards nuclear weaponisation. Given the asymmetry of military power and the fact that its neighbours will be busy trying to establish internal security, it is felt that in the short-term Israel does not face any military threat or serious diplomatic pressure. However, if the Palestinian factions genuinely unite and once the conservative governments in countries surrounding Israel become stable, there will be serious diplomatic pressures on Israel. It will still be militarily powerful enough to deal with any threat and new gas finds off its coast in Eastern Mediterranean will help its economy, yet its diplomatic isolation is expected to grow. Sub-conventional threats are also likely to grow and hard response will invite universal condemnation. Though Israel can meet the threats that it may face, it is likely to come under growing pressure to resolve the Palestinian problem.

    The Arab Spring: A Year Later

    The Arab countries where people have successfully overthrown the dictatorial regimes now face the daunting task of moving forward with democratic processes, economic development and institution building.

    December 23, 2011

    Increasing Normalisation of the Turkish State

    With the resignation of the service chiefs and Erdoğan’s consolidation of control, Turkey has taken a huge step towards political normalization and consolidating its democracy.

    August 01, 2011

    EU needs Turkey more than ever before

    With Turkey’s accession negotiations for EU membership going nowhere, Ankara is pursuing other diplomatic options.

    March 07, 2011

    Turkey–Brazil Involvement in Iranian Nuclear Issue: What Is the Big Deal?

    The Iranian nuclear stand-off is still a major issue in global politics. From international players like the European Union, the United States and the United Nations, to individual states, almost each country has its own stake in the issue. However, the recent deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil has not only changed the nature of the issue, but also the discussion itself. The deal has changed the nature because the one-sided dialogue between the international community and Iran is no longer relevant.

    January 2011

    Changing Face of Turkey

    Turkey is blessed with a favourable geography. It straddles Asia and Europe, is surrounded by sea on three sides, controls the only link to the Black Sea, and has moderate climatic conditions, abundant energy resources in its neighbourhood and a defensible terrain. It also has the civilisational and historical past, having ruled over large swathes of territory including North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Europe in the heyday of the Ottoman Empire.

    January 2011

    The Ghost of September 12 in Turkey

    From a broader perspective, the referendum and the debates around it should be seen as the latest example of the domestic transformation of Turkish politics especially since the AKP came to power in 2002.

    October 07, 2010

    Can the Rise of ‘New’ Turkey Lead to a ‘New’ Era in India-Turkey Relations?

    What will define the future of Turkey-India relations in not Cyprus or Pakistan, but the stress on mutual strengthening of their economies and providing an environment for greater understanding of each other.

    September 21, 2010

    Power vacuum and impending regional race in Iraq

    President Barack Obama’s announcement that the “American combat role in Iraq has ended” has created fresh challenges for the region. Iraq needs to meet the daunting internal and external challenges in the wake of the American withdrawal to ensure stability.

    September 09, 2010