ORIENT I 2019: 60 years of ORIENT – Trends and Trajectories

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Dear ORIENT readers,

The Near and Middle East region has become one of the most fragile hotspots in world affairs. The ongoing war in Yemen, the continuing fighting in Syria, the role of Jihadi networks and growing socio-economic instability in many countries of the region are major threats. The rivalry and competition for dominance are increasing, especially between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The positioning of certain Arab states and the US in support of Saudi Arabian politics, confronting Iran and Qatar, intensifies the risk of further escalation and weakens cooperation in the Gulf. The long-lasting conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is far away from any peaceful solution.

The latest attempts to find a solution to the Yemeni conflict and stabilise regional cooperation will hopefully succeed and lead to a détente. Otherwise the outlook for regional stability will remain very gloomy.

In this issue of ORIENT we have brought together articles that outline some of the key trends and trajectories in the region today. Anoushiravan Ehteshami discusses how the influence of external powers – and the balance between them – has evolved over the past decades, before Robert Springborg skillfully links contentious politics across the region to the effects of globalisation. Afterwards, James M. Dorsey takes an approach that might seem unusual at first, but yields great insight: sports as an arena for geopolitics. Subsequently, Margret Johannsen analyses the state of affairs in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In the next contribution, Jérôme Drevon provides a detailed look at how armed Salafi Jihadi networks have emerged and come to play an important role in MENA. Last but certainly not least, Omar Eleish delves into the intricate relationship between counter-terrorism measures and economic security.

We wish all our readers a peaceful and prosperous new year!

Dr. Gunter Mulack
Director of the German Orient-Institute



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