Middle East And North Africa
The contrast between richly endowed oil-and-gas economies and resource-poor countries is an important marker in the region. Its strategic location between the East and West, along with its energy wealth, make it vulnerable to the clashing policies and interests of local and global powers, including the United States, Europe and Russia. Foreign interventions tend to exacerbate local conflicts.
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Opinion: The lost cause of Iraq and Syria, symbols of the West’s defeat
After over a decade of Western involvement in Syria and Iraq, the region remains unstable and vulnerable to Iranian interference. In Syria, the Kurdish conflict seems set to endure now that the U.S. military has been largely withdrawn from the area. Iraq is facing a wide-scale insurgency against its ruling class and, in the aftermath of the Soleimani assassination, the U.S. is unlikely to be able to play a role in eventual foreign-led negotiations.