Flash points like Syria to the north and Yemen to the south quickly intensify. Even a weakened ISIS does not bring about much encouragement in Iraq. That merely allows the Saudi-backed Sunni and Iranian-backed Shiite domestic disagreement to unravel Iraq.
The other main Iraqi ethnic division – the Kurds currently inhabiting the autonomous region of Kurdistan in the northeast of the country – will formally declare independence in the face of such instability.
In turn, Kurdish populations in eastern Turkey, southeastern Syria, and northeastern Iran will then create escalating problems for those three countries, as their borders come under renewed assault.
A similar sectarian problem has been festering in the tiny state just to the north of the UAE: Bahrain. There a Sunni royal household has been at odds with a Shiite majority population. The popular unrest has been intensifying – with Iranian support.
Meanwhile, Saudi military forces are ready to move across the King Fahd Causeway connecting the island nation to the mainland Arabian Peninsula to support Bahrain’s Sunni government.