In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section The Contemporary Middle East

  • Introduction
  • General Overview
  • Beyond the Arab Spring
  • Syrian Civil War
  • Iran and the Gulf
  • Saudi Arabia and the Gulf
  • Arab-Israeli Conflict
  • Peace Efforts
  • Israel and the Palestinians
  • US Foreign Policy toward the Middle East
  • US-Egypt
  • US-Iraq
  • US-Israel
  • US–Saudi Arabia
  • US-Syria

International Relations The Contemporary Middle East
Sanford R. Silverburg
  • LAST REVIEWED: 10 January 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 October 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0266

Sanford R. Silverburg updated this article on 30 October 2019. It was originally written by Sanford R. Silverburg and David Ettinger, published on 30 March 2017. The original article can be found here.


As historic issues continue to fester, historical controversies resurface with renewed intensity, and new threats to global security arise, the contemporary Middle East remains a hotbed of activity and the epicenter of international attention. Even as the “Arab Spring” has transformed the complexion of the region, reoccurring issues such as the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Sunni-Shia divide still languish. Civil wars in Syria and Yemen convulse the area, Iraq struggles to reconstitute itself, and Iran moves ominously into the nuclear age. Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism, internecine conflict, and civil war have made the area a veritable crucible that has jeopardized regional stability and resurrected superpower rivalries.

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