About the Author(s)
The existing US interests in the Middle East have suffered a huge setback due to its foreign policy; not only has it aggravated the domestic security concerns of the country, but the extent of humiliation, global abhorrence for the country, and decline of its global image has been on the upsurge. The present, self-centered, and mercantilist priorities in the US foreign policy framework are some of the substantial hurdles to the peace process in the region.
The Middle Eastern region awaits an unbiased, responsible mediatory role from the US as the superpower of the world and critical Influencer in the region. However, on the contrary, the US has been the chief cause of all the seemingly unending series of unrests, violence, and growing conflicts in the region. The need for the policymakers to review and bring a possible reformation to the existing US foreign policy in the Middle East and goals/objectives is pivotal and inevitable in the pursuit of bringing sustainable peace to the region.
From the US perspective, to cement and preserve its superpower status and global image considering the challenges from hostile Russia and ambitious policies of China, a constructive role can serve both the domestic worries of the public and global interests of the country.
Keywords: global image, US interests in the Middle East, mercantilist, peace process, mediation, policy reformation, US foreign policy in the Middle East, foreign policy ideals.
With the emergence of the United State as a newly independent country in 1776, the country’s founding fathers initially were reluctant to partake internationally. Realizing the possible consequences of wars for a nation, they were wary of the fragmentary politics and wars of Europe that could bring jeopardy to their land.
George Washington, the 1st President of the United States, and his like-minded formulated a peaceful and unilateralist framework of foreign policy that was primarily based on domestic dealings, refrainment from foreign politics, wars, fair play in international dealings, and good faith towards other nations—all of which, became the foundation of the US foreign policy.
Subsequently, preferring trade and commerce in general with the rest of the world with complete detachment from Europe, in terms of alliance making, politics, and military dealings, was the early framework of the foreign policy of the country. Initially, the foreign policy ideals of the US were based largely on moral values/norms. Thus, the spirit of justice, fair play, honesty, good faith, and a neutral approach towards other nations proved significantly advantageous, not only in keeping the country away from the curse of wars but also in setting it on a smooth track to economic growth and prosperity.
Similarly, the policy of unilateralism brought some desirable outcomes as per the vision and desires of the country’s earlier forefathers. In the initial years, the US managed to remain aloof from the invasion of the British, French, and Dutch empires who were involved consistently in costly wars for acquiring new colonies and resources. The policy of unilateralism from the US’ perspective proved pivotal in ensuring the national security envisioned by the architects of the state.
The Consequences of “Divide and Rule” in the Middle East
For centuries the Middle East has been subjected to instability mostly by foreign intruders. It has remained a battlefield for empires since the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the end of its stabilized central ruling system of “Khilafat”, courtesy of the deliberate destabilizing maneuvers of the British ruling elites.
During the First World War, to dismantle the Ottoman Empire, Britain initially resorted to various unconventional schemes by provoking deliberate disability within the region. It gained the favor of various factions in the regions, like the Hashemite family, in its pursuit of weakening the German influence in the Ottoman ranks, which led to the beginning of an unending series of revolts, bloodshed, and conflicts.
Subsequently, the disintegration of the previously centralized rule of the Ottoman Empire and the independence of the Arab colonies brought a great shift in the political system of the region, followed by a significant account of foreign interference and influence. The victors of World War I, Britain and France, distributed the region among each other and took control of it by force.
However, a few decades after World War II, both Britain and France gave up their formal control over their colonies, leaving an opportunity for the US to make its official entry into the Middle East. Following the years after World War II, absolute monarchs, dictators, and authoritarians were, with the backing and funding from France, Britain, and the U.S, able to install their administrations.
Thus, there started a series of horrific accounts of oppression, repression, brutality, and increasingly religious, sectarian-based violent conflicts, which were largely absent during Ottoman rule. The new series of sectarian-based animosity and spark not only brought division, mistrust, and misunderstanding among the Muslims of the region but also led to an increasing discontent, anger, and frustration among the people of different sects, ideologies, ethnicities, and regions towards each other.
The victory of the “divide and rule” principle was followed by further violent conflicts and civil wars in different countries in later years. This resulted in the death of millions of people with millions more displaced.
The US Foreign Policy in the Middle East
The United States for decades has considered the Middle East as an important region of interest. Despite the country’s active involvement there since the 1900s, the country’s leadership has refrained from publicly announcing the region to be in the sphere of influence of the US.
However, with the growing obsession for minerals and natural resources, the US foreign policy interests in the Middle East again took a significant drift from an absolute detachment from politics, military alliances, and wars to direct and indirect intrusion. Following it, meddling in the political affairs of many countries in the region, and installing and assisting radicalization and sectarianism just for its own geostrategic and economic interests, became the new framework of the US foreign policy in the Middle East.
This self-centered and conflicting approach to foreign policy has been the feature of the United States in the past few decades, which has only triggered fundamentalism and has fueled deadly conflicts in many countries of the region—including Libya, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. So far, the US presence in the region has been largely for the purpose of the exploitation of the mineral resources, particularly oil, and destabilization of the region to get a reason to intervene in the region.
Arguably, the role of the US has been uneven and self-centered regarding any honest attempt to end the violence and political crisis. The United States’ foreign policy in the Middle East has been driven by self and business interests under the administration of few individuals and pressure groups. So far, history has proven that the US foreign policy in the Middle East has been highly controversial with business/mercantilist interests prevailing over the popular wishes of that region.
Although the region has been the battlefield for different empires and superpowers for centuries, with the start of the contemporary period, the scale and impact of the violent conflicts have reached a new level. These conflicts have has brought devastating damage to the infrastructure, stability, and progress of the region. In the past few decades, the Middle East has witnessed a rise in violent political, sectarian, social, and cultural conflicts and unrests, along with the addition of severe humanitarian crises
This paper is set to give, a critical account and assessment of a few of the significant problems, that have been triggering factors in the fueling and escalation of the ongoing unrests and violence in the Middle East, inherent to the foreign policy framework, priorities, and interests of the US concerning the region. A major portion of the paper also offers some practical recommendations, i.e. the creation of a nuclear-free zone, to the US policymakers in the pursuit of attaining sustainable peace in the region.
A New Manifest Destiny
From the early days of the United States’ independence to the contemporary world, the framework and foreign policy objectives/goals have witnessed series of dramatic shifts with time. The term “manifest destiny”, starting from the earlier years of the US independence, has been the primary feature of United States foreign policy.
Under its manifest destiny, the US did not limit itself to spreading its sphere of influence to North America. With time, it transformed into a much broader shape, which occurred primarily in the shape of expansion, and pre-emptive and deliberate policy of imperialism to the other regions of the Pacific and Asia.
The US fought wars with Mexico in 1846-48 for acquiring lands having geographical importance and took perpetrated the Spanish-American war in 1898 for silver and gold deposits. In between all these war years, almost all of United States’ elected democratic presidents have justified the notion of “sphere of influence”, which in reality has been highly imperialistic, aggressive, and contradictive foreign policy design.
Ironically, not much has changed since then, in terms of the intention of the country and its ruling elites. As with the start of the contemporary period, the Middle East once again became a region of great importance for the United States of America, which has always been keen to take the control of this region. However, this time, it aimed to achieve this through a new version of manifest destiny.
Keeping in view the geographical importance of the region, along with its huge reserves of natural and mineral resources, the Middle East has remained a vital region of national interest for both the US and Russia. Both the powers resorted to different strategies—lobbying, pressure groups, local armed militias, proxies, fundamentalism, radicalization, and other unconventional ways—in the pursuit of controlling the region, just to signify that the region is in their sphere of influence.
The start of the Cold War, carried a sense of urgency to the US foreign policymakers to once again devise a firm and durable foreign policy in the shape of “containment”. The legacy of “manifest destiny”, primarily based on taking control of the Middle East and exploiting its oil through spreading the US’ sphere of influence around the region, was reintroduced there afterward.
However, during that period and afterward, the US did not go for a direct or conventional way of declaring an all-out war for attaining control of the region. Rather, the policymakers preferred sketching unconventional ways of indirect involvement in setting the ground for direct expansion which only became evident to the world community in the later years. Through this, they sought to achieve US interests in the Middle East.
The new series of violent conflicts and unrests in the Middle East go back to the Cold War animosity. For the dominance and control of the region, Iran—backed by Russia—and Saudi Arabia—funded and militarized by the US—locked horns, which has led the two states to wage propaganda warfare and proxies-based strategies against each other. The animosity between the two countries is very much fresh and alive to this day.
Partly because of this animosity, and the deliberate intrusion of the US and Russia through Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two oil-rich countries are in an almost existential state of war and heavy cloud of mistrust. Thus, the amount of unrest and the intensity of violent conflicts are flaring up which is a significant hurdle behind the attainment of durable peace in the region.
The US’ Unholy Alliance with Israel
The establishment and emergence of “Zionism” as an ideological, ethnic, and national popular movement, demanding a separate state for the Jews in Arab Palestine, was equally supported and celebrated by the Pentagon as a significant event to occur in history. The US provided the movement assistance in terms of helping the Jews in their influx from Europe and parts of Africa to Palestine, and in taking over of the region.
The US was also one of the first countries to recognize the state of Israel, just after its independence in May 1948. The US and its allies’ support was also instrumental in protecting the young state of Israel from its highly hostile Arab countries and later this unprecedented support became evident in the wars which it fought with the Arab union.
The US and its allies, for centuries, have perceived the Arab Muslim world as their adversary and ideological rival. The historical account of the Arab and the western powers’ hostilities has resulted in a great account of mistrust and animosity. Primarily, this was one of the objectives that led the US, Britain, and France to put their weight and support in the creation of Israel in 1948. The second objective was the protection of the western and US interests in the Middle East which could have proven instrumental geo-strategically and in ensuring its grip on the region’s resources.
Similarly, this greed has a historical legacy that goes back decades. The loss of the power and status of Great Britain after the Second World War left the United States the only major decision-maker in the Middle East. This enabled the country to pursue its national interest of spreading its sphere of influence in the region.
Most of all, to gain a suitable passage for exploiting the oil and other resources in the region, the presence and geostrategic position of Israel in the region was a significant advantage to the policymakers of the US to attain and preserve its business interests there.
Thus, the decisive victory of Israel over the Arab countries of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon in the six-day war of 1967, could not have been possible without the unofficial backing and help of the US This unilateral support gave significant weight to the international legitimacy of the new state of Jews. Since then, both the countries have been able to stand with each other on almost every national and international forum.
They have been supporting and endorsing each other’s interests, with representatives from both sides holding a great amount of zeal and enthusiasm for each other and declaring the interests of both the countries similar and mutual. In reality, however, the interests of the two countries have not been similar but conflictual and costly, with the US being on the receiving side.
Arguably, if it would not have been the unconditional support and backing of the US after the Second World War, the creation, the ancestral claim of Jews in the Arab region and even the sustenance of the country in a hostile region would not have been conceivable. The amount of moral, psychological, financial/economic, and military support the US gave the Jewish state of Israel is unmatched.
Israel receives approximately ten percent of America’s foreign aid budget every year which is more than the amount received by any other state in the region. The US has, in fact, given more aid to Israel than it has to all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean combined which have a total population of over a billion people—despite their miserable social and political conditions, domestic instability, and stagnant economies. Foreign aid is just one component of many other staggering costs that the United States has paid for its costly alliance with the state of Israel.
A critical assessment and analysis of the US-Israel alliance would suggest that this relationship has not been mutually beneficial—neither in terms of well-being, nor economic development, or the attainment of prosperity and peace in the world. This uncalculated extent of the United States’ supportive and biased stand towards Israel has not only brought great damage to the ideals and framework of the United States foreign policy, but it has also given a premium to the already seemingly down turning of the country’s image in the eyes of the world.
Many critics of this alliance see this as a significant blowback to the country. In recent years, the United States unmatched support to Israel, by allowing her to conduct and continue its unaccounted brutalities and suppression of the Palestinians, and by letting it establish illegal settlements in the region, is also an evident episode of this long going, slightly expensive, alliance. This biased and immoral support of the US has caused huge concern, anger, and dissatisfaction among the native Palestinians, the Muslim world, and a large number of people within the US and elsewhere.
A nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East would also require inspection and monitoring of Israel’s widespread nuclear programs; however, the US does not want this. Worse yet, it would require the country to recognize that Israel’s programs exist, thus calling into operation the provisions of the US law (the Symington Amendment), that bans US aid to countries that develop nuclear weapons outside the NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty) framework.
It would, in short, require the US to recognize that its aid to Israel for the past almost forty years is illegal under US law. That simply won’t do, so we must face the threat of a major war in the Middle East (Barsamian, 2020). Furthermore, this ever-existing, ill-thought unilateral strategy of the US, at the cost of millions of people in the region and their right to attain peace, is contributing to the ever-growing skepticism and mistrust among people about the intentions of the US involvement in other parts of the world.
The unholy alliance with Israel is not entirely restricted to economic interests, rather it is multidimensional and goes beyond religious, cultural, and geostrategic interest. Hence, it is a rare alliance to be found in the modern era.
The Problem with the US Existence in the Region
The search for oil and the thirst for domination of the Middle East has led the US to get involved in a highly unwelcoming and hostile Arab region. Thus, the US administration has carried out its one-way policy of helping and assisting Israel and setting out initial grounds for possible all-out domination of the whole region.
The US policymakers initially resorted to indirect yet effective strategies in their wicked pursuit. These strategies ranged from funding and supporting the autocratic regimes installed in different countries, locally administered militias to wage their war against the Soviet Union, to incorporating the seeds of fundamentalism and Wahhabism and defaming Islam in the midst of the Cold War.
Similarly, at the end of the Cold War era, the US directly occupied countries like Iraq, Libya, and Qatar, to name but a few. In retrospect, it did not go; in fact, the damage it brought to the country has been unprecedented. It brought more harm than good for the US domestic security concerns, as a series of terrorist activities occurred within the country as a consequence of those US occupations in the Middle East.
The obsession with oil and the expansionist ambitions led the US to be trapped in the region for decades, without any significant gains in return. This policy brought a literal catastrophe to the whole region in the form of civil wars, political and ethnoreligious violent conflicts, and fundamentalism.
It resulted in millions of casualties and a huge amount of people were displaced from their homes. Consequently, this also produced a large scale of opposition and resentment within the US public sphere and deteriorated the image of the US involvement in the region, globally.
The United States’ support of the immigration of Jews and the creation of Israel was a significant factor in the emergence of frustration, resentment, and hatred of the Arab nations towards the state of America. They viewed the American presence in the region as instrumental in the establishment of different terrorist organizations and extremist sentiments.
The US involvement also gave the already existing terrorist networks a lasting hype, premium, and cause to cash the already existing rhetoric of foreign intrusion in their land, to recruit more youth, and to justify the need for waging jihad against the foreign intruders. Upon these premises, a great number of trained extremists and hardliners, with their manipulative and cunning skills, have been able to trigger their pursuit of radicalizing and indoctrinating a large portion of the Arab population, in particular the youth.
Motivating or indoctrinating the youth to opt for the path of violence and hatred – against the US and other foreigners present in the region – has remained a major concern. Support for the US-led efforts to fight terrorism remains low in most of the predominantly Muslim countries. Survey results spilled that a major portion of the people of these states showed a lack of confidence in Barack Obama, during his two terms as president, to do the right thing in world affairs.
For the most part, Obama’s handling of issues in the Muslim world, including the uprisings in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran, and Afghanistan, have been met with disapproval. In general, the attitude towards the US and the Obama administration was more positive in Israel than in the other Middle Eastern state.
Peace through Policy Reforms
It is important to acknowledge here that that the US’ existing unilateral policy of enforcing its system of governance has been a complete failure, as not only has it defamed the global image of the country but trapped it into the shackles of the unrest and terrorism which it once sowed in the region. Although it has been trying to achieve its interests in the Middle East, the US is now seeking an easy escape from the region’s politics—after waging series of unpreceded blunders—that would not be easy to get, as the region is entrapped in instability.
The US needs to realize the situation and rethink its old policies so that room for reforms could be made possible. The policymakers in the US need to reconstruct their priorities by making peace in the Middle East a part of their interests. Only this can enable the country to make some progress in eliminating the menace of terrorism and extremism from the region and move towards the installation of stability and prosperity in the Middle East.
However, this requires the US administration to not take sides in the conflicts in the region but rather play a mediatory role to resolve these conflicts by remaining a neutral player. The US policymakers need to acknowledge the importance of liberty and to allow the people of the Middle East to choose their own culture. With the existing US foreign policy, this has gone against the US interests in the Middle East.
It is possible by providing platforms for the local bodies/stakeholders to enable them to make decisions and construct policies they consider best for their system. The policymakers need to have the realization that peace cannot be enforced rather, it can only be brought in the region through mediation and dialogue. For that, a responsible role of the US, by putting the global interest—peace in the region—above its vested interests in the Middle East, is equally important. This requires the policymakers to reform the US foreign policy in the Middle East
Furthermore, the policymakers of the US need to understand that any constructive role from the US will ultimately help itself, interims of its global image, and the current expenditure on keeping military in the Middle East. Soft power expenditure in the Middle East will be removed if peace is established.
Policymakers need to make policies that can end the conflicts in the Middle East, namely the conflicts between Israel and Palestine, the Houthis and the Yemeni government, and the Assad regime and the rebels in Syria. There is a great need to construct pro-public policies for the region, to gain the support of the local populace of the region, as time and again the resentment and hatred for the US has been troublesome. Since the US cannot handle the terrorist organizations in the Middle East alone and needs local and international support, it wants to see the violent conflicts and unrest coming to an end.
Dismantling the Sectarian Card
Some of the key states in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, are apparently in a sectarian (Sunni-Shia) tussle. These countries have frequently opted for proxy wars and propaganda tactics as reliable tools for carrying out their interests for years. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the major sectarian rivals involved in proxy wars in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and other Arab countries (Robson, 2021).
Iran is the main supporter of the Shia sect while Saudi belongs to the Sunni faction of Islam. This sectarian conflict could be explained in multi-dimensions. Iran and Saudi Arabia both are trying to gain hegemony of the region that has made the region a battleground of unrest and violent conflicts.
The US enjoys good relations with Saudi Arabia that trace back to the Cold War era. In the 1980s, at the request of its American counterparts, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) enabled “Wahhabism” within the region. Wahhabism was largely based on fundamentalism which Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the crown prince of KSA, himself later acknowledged.
In retaliation, Iran has, for years, opted for the tactic of supporting and providing arms and assistance to the Shia-led organization, Hezbollah, to counter Israeli interests in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen. It has been enabling Hezbollah and other like-minded organizations primarily based on the sectarian card.
The challenge to Iran and the mobilization of sectarianism are part of the normal playbook for Riyadh when faced with regional and domestic challenges. However, the new forces unbridled by the Arab uprising, state weakness, and civil wars to the powerful new media platforms, make this sectarian game much more precarious than it has been in the past. Thus, it will be far more difficult to diminish these sectarian cravings than it has been to inflame them (Lynch, 2019).
The need for the US to reformulate its policies towards the Middle East in the pursuit of dismantling the ever-existing sectarian-based divide and rule, and the deliberate creation of unrest, is critical. If the rapprochement policies among the disputed countries could be revived, the peaceful settlement of the region would be possible. So far, peace has not been achieved in the region because it is not a part of the US interests in the Middle East.
Similarly, the need for introducing policies for economic integration among the regional warring states and the relevant actors of the region is instrumental for bringing back peace in the region. The current spike in sectarian-based violence is not a resurgence of a 1,400-years-old conflict.
Sectarianism today, is more intense and largely due to politics. The continuing and relentless aftershocks of the US occupation of Iraq, the seemingly unending Syrian civil war, and the Iranian nuclear deal have far more to do with the current spike in sectarianism than some unending heart of religious difference (Lynch, 2016).
The policymakers should take into account while making policies for dismantling sectarianism, the varied intensity of sectarianism in the different regions of the region. The US policymakers should avoid generalizations, oversimplification and should divide the regions into groups according to the intensity of the conflicts. They should then aim for making friendly policies within the intensified regions with common grounds to better tackle the issues. The policymakers should aim to achieve the US interests in the Middle East without intensifying the conflicts in the region.
The US needs to avert its previous stand on supporting few countries in particular, like Israel and KSA, since up to this day it has only flared up more mess and conflicts. Through the promotion of non-sectarian narratives and cross-sectarian dialogues, progress can be made. Thus, the US, as a major power, should prioritize the stability of the region and in that regard, improve relations with Iran.
This can be achieved by allowing other countries, like Oman, to participate in crafting the policies for the peace process. Given Oman’s historical background as a mediator in regional conflicts, and its mutual good relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran, it can serve as a participant in the peace process. Although this process is long-term and requires a lot of effort and willingness from the leaders of the countries involved, it could lead to possible success.
Creation of Nuclear-free Zone
Iran, in pursuit of its nuclear program, is already in the process of uranium enrichment Despite facing huge global pressure and heavy sanctions from the US, it has caught an unexpected pace which has led to the buildup of nuclear insecurity for Saudi Arabia and Israel. The two latter states are figuring out ways to balance this nuclear divide with their ideological rival.
Considering the criticality of the situation, the United States has a major role to play here. The policymakers at Washington will need to formulate rational and pragmatic policies for the de-escalation of the ongoing conflicts in the region, especially the Yemen war. Moreover, they would need to be wary of the possible nuclear war between these countries in the nearer future.
The US needs to treat Iran and Saudi Arabia equally. In the wake of the world facing nuclear threats. the creation of a nuclear-free zone is imminent and it could be the safest solution to this decades-old conflict and bloodshed. President Joe Biden has rejoined the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which is indeed a good move. Now, under his leadership, the US should work for the implementation of the treaty.
Moreover, the US should also mobilize all the multilateral organizations, such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to play their role in materializing the idea of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
For this, the first step could be confidence building through exchanges of information among the stakeholders. A promising step would be a regional treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons testing. Several countries in the region have already signed the 1995 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (NTBT). Even though a test ban would not satisfy the states like Egypt and Iran, which are determined to reverse the nuclear programs of Israel, but it would enhance political relations and build confidence.
Similarly, the agencies of the United Nations, along with the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), should work for the resolution of the prolonged conflicts in the region, and pass a resolution in the favor of a nuclear-free zone for the Middle East. This could be a decisive factor in bringing peace to the region and in ensuring it for the world community.
The growing hostility among the regional powers is leading towards an arms race, particularly in a nuclear arms race. The US, therefore, should collaborate with these international organizations to frame practical solutions to all of the issues that are creating chaos, disunity, and restlessness in the Middle East.
The existing US foreign policy in the Middle East has been ineffective in bringing peace to the region because the current foreign policy priorities of the US are not aimed at establishing peace. The policy exists to achieve the US interests in the Middle East. The US has its foothold in the Middle East mainly because of its economic interests i.e. selling arms and controlling the region’s oil resources.
The Saudi-Iran regional rivalry is a major factor behind the nuclear arms race and the ongoing violent conflicts catching a significant pace. Since the advent of the Iranian Revolution, both Iran and Saudi Arabia are scrambling to increase the ambit of their influence in the region. To fulfill their political as well as ideological interests, both the states are using nuclear arms as a probable means at their disposal.
The rivalry between Israel and Iran still prevails with higher intensity in the present time. Moreover, this acrimony has been the dominant factor behind the race for the nuclear race in the region. Therefore, in the long easing of the relations between Israel and its neighboring countries, especially Iran, the eradication of religious/ethnic and sectarian-based mistrust between Saudi Arabia and Iran is inevitable.
It is equally important for the US policymakers to refrain from their existing unilateral policy based on the legacy of divide and rule, as so far, it has only damaged its image globally. The possible implementation of a nuclear-free zone policy and dismantling sectarianism could bring some progress to the peace process. However, for the attainment of sustainable peace in the region, a responsible role from the US is inevitable.
The US can play a decisive role in bringing an end to this decades-old violent conflict. It is equally important for the US policymakers to pursue and arrange any peace initiative with absolute sincerity and good faith for attaining its interests in the Middle East, as well as the interests and lives of millions in the region.
- Barsamian, D. (2020) When the US became a rogue state in the Middle East. Literary Hub. https://lithub.com/when-the-us-became-a-rogue-state-in-the-middle-east/.
- Robson, A. (2021, May 3). The mobilization of sectarian identities in the Syrian civil war. E-International Relations. https://www.e-ir.info/2021/05/03/the-mobilisation-of-sectarian-identities-in-the-syrian-civil-war/.
- Lynch, M. (2016). Why Saudi Arabia escalated the Middle East’s sectarian conflict. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. https://carnegieendowment.org/2016/01/04/why-saudi-arabia-escalated-middle-east-s-sectarian-conflict-pub-62398.
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