For much of the Middle East’s modern history, there has been a power struggle to determine the “leader of the Arab world.” The article that I have chosen to use is one by Tarek Osman, and is titled “Who will win the Middle East?” Momentum has swung in many different countries favour; during the 1950’s and 1960’s, Egypt was the leader of the Arab world, with Cairo as its capitol.
This changed in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s with Israel’s defeat of several Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria, power swapped to the Gulf states in the Middle East, where the wealth and therefore the new power was. Saudi Arabia was seen as the leader of this number of Gulf states, and they were then seen as the leaders for two decades to follow.
Israel then held dominance for a few years in the 1990’s, with the Oslo agreement between Israel and Palestine as well as the treaties between Israel and Jordan. This was seen as a period of peace to come as a break from the fighting that had occurred since the 1940’s when Israel first came about.
There is currently heavy debate amongst scholars as to who the current power in the region is, as many countries are seen to be in poor condition. There are two groups vying for power, as Tarek Osman’s article puts it. The new extremist Islamists, led by Iran, Qatar, Turkey and several terrorist organisations against the traditionalists of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel.
It is almost impossible to say with confidence, but in my opinion the conservative group are the ones more likely to assume the position as leader of the Arab world. This is due to the United State’s support of several of these countries, as well as the ceiling for economic growth and power in these states.
The text seems to have similar thoughts to mine, with it’s section on Egyptian’s regional politics reading like they believe Egypt to have the best chance of recovering this power. It states that “as Egypt recovers from domestic turbulence it will have the opportunity to reassert itself as a popular, independent force in regional affairs.” It states this after talking about how Egypt has been a dominant force in the Arab world since the 1950’s.