A mere two and a half years ago the Middle East and North Africa were organized in the following categories:
Democracies: Israel and Turkey
Traditional monarchies: The gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Jordan Oman and Morocco
Secular dictatorships: Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Syria, of which Libya and Syria were state sponsors of terrorism.
Occupied countries: Iraq and Afghanistan
Failed state: Lebanon
Clerical dictatorship: Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism
In a remarkably short period of time a new Middle East and North Africa is emerging, the outlines of which are visible, but which is very much still in flux.
Major changes: (1) A stable Turkey, morphing gently into into mild Islamist semi-dictatorship, is suddenly plunged into internal conflict, with the government confronted by secularists, gulenists, Alevis and Kurds. (2) Every one of the secular dictatorships, except for Algeria, has been overthrown or in the case of Syria is in the midst of civil war. Basically, they have given way to a struggle among Muslim Brotherhood extreme Islamists, even more extreme Salafists and secularists, in a heady brew seasoned by tribal groupings, urban gangs and terrorist organizations. (3) Iran and Afghanistan, respectively, have regressed to communalism and tribalism. (4) A resurgence of Kurdish nationalism which affects four countries in the region and threatens them with secession. (5) Renewed religious rivalry and hatred between Sh’ia and Sunni Muslims, across countries, areas within countries and even terrorist groups, with now open hostility, for example, between Hamas and Hezbollah. Only the traditional monarchies, with the exception of Bahrain, have so far escaped the turmoil. For how much longer is an open question. And, of course, Israel and Iran.