|The end of the Cold War and the conclusion of the Gulf war have had a dramatic impact on the political landscape of the Middle East. Some of the developments have been highly encouraging, most notably the historic peace agreement between Israel and the PLO in August 1993. The Middle East seems closer than ever before to a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, the Persian Gulf region remains critically unstable. And, throughout the region, the growing power of radical Islamic groups threatens the internal stability of a number of Middle Eastern states.
This study provides an overarching assessment of the current political situation in the Middle East. It has three major parts: first, an analysis of the most significant political and economic developments in the region; second, an assessment of the progress made in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict; and third, an analysis of Persian Gulf security, focusing on the states of Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.