In an examination of the “five mostly troubling trends from 2010 that will probably define and plague the Middle East for the year ahead,” Rami G Khouri writes:
The transformation of the formerly localized Arab-Israeli conflict into the fulcrum of a much wider regional confrontation with strong religious overtones bodes ill for the region in the years ahead.
The Arab-Israeli conflict now anchors a much more violent and complex stand-off that sees some Arab states (notably Syria), Iran and powerful Arab Islamist resistance movements like Hamas and Hezbollah working together to repel not only Israeli territorial aggression, but what they see as wider American-Israeli hegemonic ambitions in the Arab-Islamic Middle East.
The narrow competing claims of Palestinians and Israelis in a small corner of the region have now transformed into a regional and quasi-global existential battle among powerful actors who seem prepared to fight to the finish.
Large regional and global conflicts will now more easily find local proxies to wage the battle, while local feuds will often escalate quickly into more fierce and intractable conflicts because of the association with foreign actors.