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Let's Meet in the Middle: Modern Middle East

Modern Middle East Background Guide

Welcome, diplomats! It is the first day of the new year, 2016, and we assemble to make history. The situation in the Middle East is - to say the least - fraught. Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter rivals, their rivalry manifesting itself in proxy wars throughout the region. In Iraq, the Sunni and Kurdish minorities complain vociferously of the false democracy of the Shia regime. In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad battles endlessly with various rebel forces, at huge civilian cost. And looming above all, nascent Daesh has conquered vast swaths of land, has declared a caliphate, and has begun to launch deadly attacks in foreign lands - most recently, in Beirut and Paris.

    Thus, the world holds its breath for the results of this remarkable gathering. Representatives from Bashar al-Assad's government, the Syrian National Coalition, the ruling Iraqi government, the Sunni Iraqi tribes, the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and even Al-Qaeda (together with the al-Nusra Front) and Daesh, have all convened to hash out solutions to these seemingly intractable quandaries. Each one of your nations or organizations has a complex relationship with each other; it will require considerable brains, tenacity, and vision to use this summit to your advantage. Fare thee well!