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Is the new Arab alliance too good to be true?


A new alliance between Egypt, Iraq and Jordan could bring Iraq back into the Arab fold. But Iran is hardly going to look the other way and let this happen.

Alliances in the Middle East come and go, often shaped and determined by regional competition and international intervention. The past few years have seen the normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel, the reconciliation between the GCC states following a four-year rift, and the once-strong Saudi-UAE partnership, built on close ties between crown princes Mohammed bin Zayed and Mohammed bin Salman, come under pressure.

An emerging regional alliance worth watching is that of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, which brings together the region's 'odd fellows'. Egypt has lost its place as the region's so-called centre of gravity, Jordan was sidelined during the Trump era and has since, arguably, lost its unique selling point as an interlocutor for peace to the UAE and Bahrain, while Iraq left the Arab fold long ago. On paper, it does not look like a very convincing alliance either and few policy wonks and analysts have given it any consideration. However, three key features should make this an effective and durable alliance, and one which holds promise for regional and international partners.

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