Islam is a unifying force of all middle eastern countries with the exception of Israel. As such it is centripetal rather than centrifugal. Islam is the dominant religion in all the Middle Eastern countries outside of Israel where it is the second most dominant religion for 16.9% of the population.
There are 10 oil producing countries in the Middle East. These are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and Yemen. According to OPEC, more than 80% of the world’s crude oil reserves are located in OPEC Member Countries. 65% of OPEC oil reserves are found in the Middle East. The top six oil producers in the Middle East are Saudi Arabia (22%), Iran (13.1%), Iraq (11.7%), Kuwait (8.4%), UAE (8.1%) and Qatar (2.1%). Oil has led to prosperity and modernization in Islam countries, but it has also reinforced kinship networks as well as cronyism and led to political stagnation. (Malachova, 2012). The recent collapse of oil prices in January 2016 will negatively affect both the economy and political atmosphere (BBC).
Economic pressures upon the general populace were the primary cause of Arab Spring. These included increased fuel, food, transportation, energy and commodity costs while wages remained the same. Years of severe drought and famine in Syria led to brutal starvation with no support from the totalitarian regime.
BBC reported some results of the Arab Spring as
survival of monarchies vs expulsion of autocrats,
US loses influence over middle eastern governments,
Shia and Sunni Muslims engage in bitter Syrian conflict,
Iraqi Kurds have hopes of economic independence,
women remain and underrepresented underclass.
Israel has full diplomatic relations and open border with Jordan and Egypt. The Israeli Arab conflict continues after decades of failed attempts at a lasting peace.