The main conflict in the Middle East is the striving for land against Western opposition, which is buttressed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the conflict over Oil. These three conflicts in the Middle East help to form what believe is the central conflict.
The first supporting conflict in the Middle East that I believe buttresses the main conflict (the fight over land) is the issue of Oil. In the early 1900's it was first learned that oil could be used in their naval ships to replace coal. The British and rest of Europe also knew that the Middle East had large supplies of oil, so they started setting up oil companies all around the Middle East to start drilling and refining. I believe this was one of the early stepping stones to the conflict over land, as it gave European countries a real stake in the Middle East, and made the area very valuable for once.
Today, as oil is still an essential import for the U.S. and parts of Europe and Asia, so countries still really on the Middle East as a steady supply of Oil, and will take actions to protect that. Some say that the U.S invasion of Iraq to get Saddam out of power and set up a new government had to do with getting more oil. While this may or may not be true, it is true that unless a new system of energy was set up, the U.S. could not bear to lose it's flow of oil from the Middle East, nor could the Middle East bear to lose its flow of cash from the U.S. and other countries they export to.
Another large supporting conflict used to support the fighting over land is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is probably the largest conflict...