As the Western countries grow relatively preoccupied with the containment of the pandemic and its repercussions on internal fronts, the MENA region is expected to experience increased volatility. 

Lacking the capacity to mitigate the economic burden resulting from the pandemic, countries in the Middle East are prone to greater instability, while regional players, mainly Turkey and Iran, will try to benefit from the cracks in the international system.

With Iran’s economy being severely hit by the pandemic, suffocating sanctions and the ongoing oil price war, it is possible Iran will resort to escalating tensions in the region. This could primarily be through its proxies in Iraq, Yemen and Syria, in a desperate attempt to make advances on the ground and force the international community to make concessions. Although waves of protest may arise in Iran, the Iranian regime is likely to be able to contain them. 

As the world economy enters a critical open-ended crisis which could prove far more detrimental than the financial crash of 2008, the economic crisis will take its toll differently on countries in the MENA region, with those with economies dependent on Europe facing major setbacks. The ongoing oil price war is also expected to deepen the crisis in Iraq and Algeria while countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are expected to retract in an attempt to cut expenditure and limit the ensuing fiscal imbalance. However, the long-term effects of the crisis will not be easily contained.