Understanding the multipolar Middle East

Mark Leonard welcomes Ellie Geranmayeh and Alistair Burt to understand the new multipolar order in the Middle East

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For the past few months, the United States has been trying to broker a groundbreaking bilateral deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Iran, meanwhile, is forging an ever closer and ever more dangerous partnership with Russia. Finally, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt were invited to join the BRICS this summer – and are turning more and more towards the east. In short, the Middle Eastern order has shifted towards multipolarity.

In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes Ellie Geranmayeh, senior policy fellow and deputy director of ECFR’s Middle East and North Africa programme, and Alistair Burt, pro-chancellor of Lancaster University and former UK minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa. Together, they discuss the power dynamics that are shaping the Middle East’s embrace of multipolarity. Who are the winners and losers in these power shifts? How are China and Russia exploiting them? And what can Europe do to pursue its own interests in a region that has become much more comfortable with hedging?

This podcast was recorded on 12 September 2023.


A Year on from the Mahsa Amini Protests: Where Iran is headed and the Implications for Western Policy | Ellie Geranmayeh

And then what?: inside stories of 21st-century diplomacy | Catherine Ashton

Assad | Con Coughlin

1923 | Ned Boulting

Cover image:
An Iranian Sejjil solid-fueled medium range ballistic missile is pictured next to the portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Image by picture alliance / NurPhoto | Morteza Nikoubazl

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