The recent history of the Arab region has not been free from external interference, to the extent that it can be said with some confidence that this history cannot be understood without knowing the role of external powers, whether international or regional, in its making and shaping. It is no exaggeration to say that the structure of the modern Arab state cannot be understood without dismantling the role of the external factor, whether positive or negative, in its formulation and formation.

The conflict between the major powers (France, Britain, Germany, Italy, America, the Soviet Union, etc.) played an important role in shaping the modern Middle East, with the Arab world at its core, whether through colonialism and direct occupation or through attempts to influence and penetrate that followed independence in the middle of the twentieth century.

Although the military occupation left more than one Arab country, it soon returned in other forms between intellectual and cultural occupation, not to mention economic and technological dependence, until it reached the return of military intervention again, as happened in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and others.

The external role was influential in the Arab conflicts, especially after the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the ensuing unprecedented Arab division, in front of which the Arab countries were unable to take a specific and clear position on the invasion.

It has come to the point of asking: Can Arabs live without foreign interference? It is a revealing question of the reality of the situation in the Arab world, which has become a theater for all international and regional players to intervene in it in order to achieve their interests, not the interests of Arab countries and their societies.

With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, specifically with the outbreak of the Second Gulf War in <>, the patterns of Arab conflicts changed. It moved from the conflict with the external enemy (Israel), which has dominated Arab interactions since the late forties of the last century, to Arab-Arab conflicts, against the backdrop of sharp divisions that resulted from alignment with or against the decision of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait.

The second Gulf War had significant repercussions on the Arab regional order that will have implications for at least the next two decades. This marked the beginning of a new phase of Arab conflicts that continued until the beginning of the second millennium, specifically with the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

During that period, the Arab region was divided between many axes, but the most prominent of which was the so-called axis of moderation on the one hand, which included countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in contrast to the axis of so-called resistance or resistance, which included Syria and Iran, along with a group of sub-state players such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine.

External parties, regional and international, have tried to exploit these conflicts in order to achieve their interests in the region without caring about the interests of their allies in the Arab world. The result was that the Arab region became a sphere of influence for these regional powers, which was evident after the fall of authoritarian regimes in the Arab region following the wave of the Arab Spring in late 2010.

Over the past decades, especially in the pre-Arab Spring phase, Arab differences were between traditional powers such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq, in which history overlapped with ideology and personality, so we witnessed tensions in the relationship between Riyadh and Damascus, as well as between Saudi Arabia and Libya, and we witnessed bickering and clashing between their leaders on more than one occasion. These differences increased significantly after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the early nineties of the last century, and continued to dominate the Arab scene throughout the following two decades.

The disagreement over ways and strategies for dealing with the Zionist entity was one of the features of the classic Arab conflicts. We have witnessed the division of the region between the axes of resistance and resistance, between the desires for normalization that were passing timidly and behind closed doors, and those pushing for confrontation with Israel. In general, Israel still represented the "other", whether an enemy or a neighbor that must be dealt with, albeit reluctantly.

At the same time, non-Arab regional powers have pursued calculated strategies to interfere in Arab affairs. Iran has been supporting the so-called "resistance" axis from afar, without crude interference in determining their political choices and paths. Turkey, on the other hand, followed the "zero problems" strategy developed and considered by former Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. This is in contrast to what happened after the Arab Spring, where the intervention of these forces has become one of the most important factors of current Arab tensions and conflicts, as will be mentioned later.

Finally, the external role was influential in the Arab conflicts, especially after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the ensuing unprecedented Arab division, in front of which the Arab countries stood unable to take a specific and clear position on the invasion, which represented the actual end of the Arab regional order, which had already begun to decline and collapse after the Second Gulf War, and reached its final resting place at the beginning of the second millennium.

As for the forms of external intervention in the Arab conflicts during the past decade, they are many and varied, which may require another article.