The Recent Upheavals in the Arab World, Regional Balance of Power and New Grouping in the Middle East

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor of International Relations, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Full Professor of International Relations, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 Ph.D Graduated of International Relations, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract 
Considering this Fact that 11 September, 2001 incident had enhanced Iran regional status in the Middle East, and other regional powers like Saudi Arabia and Turkey strived to limit Iran Regional power. Arab world Upheavals provided an opportunity for them to decrease in Iran regional power in the context of Sectarianism based on balance of power. This balance of power has been become more complicated after the involvement of Russia Federation and United States.
Using descriptive–analytic and modeling method, we considered the impact of recent Arab World Upheavals on regional balance of power in the Middle East region.

The Origin of Arab World Upheavals had been the authoritarian regimes in middle east region
Following the recent Arab World Upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt, they lost the arising opportunity due to the failure in passing nation–state process in the past years;
The recent Arab World Upheavals had intensified regional Balance of power between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East region;
Turkey and Qatar enhanced their interactions with Russia and Iran as a result of their gap with Saudi Arabia;
The United States had different foreign policy toward Middle East balance of power during Obama and Trump presidency;
Russia had active role in Syria and Iraq following the recent Arab World Upheavals.

After the 11 September 2001 incident Saudi Arabia and Turkey was not able to limit Iran enhanced regional power as a result of US Invasion to Iraq and creating new Shiite regime. The recent Arab World Upheavals provide an opportunity for regional Sunni power such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey to control the Iran increased regional power through the sectarianism based on balance of power supported by the US new Republican Government. But they could not realized their objectives and contain Iran arising power in Middle East. As far, Turkey and Qatar as the follower of moderate Islam increased in their interactions with Russia and Iran.
The regional balance of power among Middle East powers following the recent Arab World Upheavals will not have a winner. It seems, it should be managed by regional or infra regional powers through their increased interactions in the region.


  1. Abdo, Geneive (2017), The New Sectarianism: The Arab Uprising & the Rebirth of Shia-sunni divide, Oxford University Press, pp 144-151.
  2. Abrar Moaser (2011), Islamism & Islamic Awareness, Abrar Moaser publication[in Persian].
  3. Aras Bulent & Yorulmazlar Emirian, (2017), Middle East Geopolitics: the Struggle for a new order", Middle East Policy, vol 24, no 2, pp 57-69.
  4.  Astana 2018 Deceleration.
  5. Atasoy, Seymen (2011), The Turkish Example: A Model for Change in the Middle East, Middle East Policy, vol 18, No 3, pp 86-100.
  6. Ayoob, Mohammad (2012), The Arab Spring: It’s Geostrategic Significance, Middle East Policy, vol19, No3, pp84-97.
  7. Barzegar, Keyhan; Ghavam, Abdolali; Zakeryan, Mehdi & Mousavi Seyed Hafez (2016), The Impact of recent Arab upheavals on Iran-Turkey regional Policy, Geopolitics Quarterly, No 1, pp 166-189 [in Persian].
  8. Brever, Anita (2012), Role of social media in mobilizing political protest: evidence from Tunisian Revolution, German Development institute, Bonn.
  9. Edward (2017), Iran & Syria: An Enduring Axis", Middle East Policy, vol 24, no 2, pp 148-159.
  10. Fuller Graham, (2014), Turkey and the Arab Spring: Leadership in the Middle East, Bozorg Publication, pp 25-42.
  11. Fuller, Graham (2014), The new Turkish Republic: Turkey as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World.
  12. Furtig, Henner (2014), Regional Powers in the Middle east: New Constellations after the Arab revolts, Palgrave Macmillan Publication, pp 23-55.
  13. Gause F. Gregory (2014), Beyond Sectarianism: the new Middle East cold war, Brookings Institute, pp.4-7.
  14. Ghavam, Abdolali (2009), State Building, Nation Building & International Relations Theory, Tehran: Islamic Azad University Publication[in Persian].
  15. Lesch, Ann (2011), Egypt Spring: Causes of the Revolution, Middle East Policy, vol 18, No 3, pp 35-48.
  16. Palacoura, Katrina (2013), The Arab uprising two years on: Ideology, Sectarianism & the Balance of Power in the Middle East, Insight Turkey, vol 15, No 1, pp 75-89.
  17. Philips, Christopher (2015), Sectarianism & Conflict in Syria, Third World Quarterly, No 2,pp.23.
  18. Philips, Christopher (2017), Eyes Bigger than Stomachs: Turkey, Saudi Arabia & Qatar in Syria, Middle East Policy.
  19. Rutherford, Bruce K (2013), Eygpt after Mobarak: Liberalism, Islam and Democracy in the Arab World, Princeton University Press.
  20. Schmierer, Richard; Jeffery James & Nader Fahad, Alireza (2016), The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry & The obama Doctrine, Middle East Policy, vol 23, no 2, pp 5-30.
  21. Snider, Erin & Faris, David (2011), The Arab Spring: US Democracy Promotion in Egypt, Middle East Policy, vol 18, No 3, pp 49-55.
  22. Stephen, Walt (1990), the Origins of Alliance, Cornell University Press.
  23. Trenin, Dmitri (2016), Moscow's Objectives, Priorities & Policy Driven, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, pp 3-25.