West Asia is in the midst of tumultuous changes which presage the emergence of a new and different set of security and economic challenges and new patterns of relationships, both within the region and with countries having major stakes and interests in the region.
Though the region has witnessed turbulence for several decades, there was, perhaps surprisingly, considerable domestic stability within individual countries mainly due to the relatively unchallengeable control that regimes exercised over their populations. However, quite unexpectedly, there has been an unprecedented popular upsurge against the ruling regimes in many countries in the Arab world during the last two years, leading to regime changes in certain cases. Characterised by outside observers as the “Arab Spring”, some regional commentators have expressed their concerns about the developments, terming these as the “Arab Turmoil”. The essence of the socio-political tumult sweeping the region has been such that the people at large have overcome their fear of the existing regimes and called for drastic and fundamental political transformation, including regime change. This has led to dramatic changes in domestic political environments in most of the countries of the region.