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date: 20 April 2024

p. 21510. Foreign Policymaking in the Middle East: Complex Realismlocked

p. 21510. Foreign Policymaking in the Middle East: Complex Realismlocked

  • Raymond Hinnebusch
  •  and Anoushiravan Ehteshami


This chapter provides an analysis of foreign policymaking by major regional states based on a complex realist approach. It explains how a complex realist approach acknowledges the weight of realist or power-based arguments and highlights other factors, such as the level of dependency on the US, processes of democratization, and the role of leadership in informing states’ foreign policy choices. It also examines decision-making by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt in relation to the key events and crises of the last decade. The chapter lays out a framework of the factors that shape the foreign policies of Middle East states, including their external environments and policy processes. It covers the 2003 Iraq War; the 2006 Hezbollah War; and the post-2014 War with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS), which indicated the states’ foreign policies that respond to threats and opportunities and their relative power positions.

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