Two opposing coalitions in the Middle East define a rivalry that threatens to tear the region apart. As competition for dominance intensifies, the confrontation between Iran’s network of state and non-state actors, and a counter-front of traditional Western allies – centred on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel – has become the region’s central battle line.


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The authors are, as ever, greatly indebted to Jeremy Shapiro for his intellectual guidance and engagement. We are also indebted to ECFR’s publication team, most particularly Chris Raggett for his diligence and patience in editing all of the individual pieces over the past month. Much praise also goes Marco Ugolini at who designed the map and platform as well as to Lorenzo Marini at for his technical expertise in creating the microsite. Our thanks also go to the team at who programmed the interactive map. Last but not least, we are grateful to our external contributors for generously providing their time and expertise in support of this project, and deserve special mention: Mohammed Alyahya, Kayhan Barzegar, Abdullah Baabood, Adam Baron, Galip Dalay, Eran Etzion, Ibrahim Fraihat, Ebtesam Al-Ketbi, and Yasser El-Shimy.