Syria has thus become a part of a region-wide tussle that is essentially about the re-calibration of two interrelated balances of power: one between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf; the second the overall regional balance of power between the American-Israeli axis and Iran. Syria is merely a sideshow of these wider and strategically much more important struggles. Iran’s support for Assad and the US-Saudi support for his opponents can only be understood in the context of these larger struggles for power and influence. The resolution of the Syrian crisis is, therefore, linked to what happens in these other arenas and cannot be separated from them.
This paper formed the basis of a presentation at an international conference on “Resolving the Syrian Crisis” organized by the Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver, January 10-11, 2013.
Mohammed Ayoob, author of The Many Faces of Political Islam(University of Michigan Press, 2008), is University Distinguished Professor of International Relations, Michigan State University, and Adjunct Scholar, Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. His edited volume Assessing the War on Terror will be published later this year. He is currently working on a book Will the Middle East Implode? which is scheduled for publication in early 2014.
Image: Flickr/Khalid Albaih. CC BY 2.0.