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Chapter

This chapter investigates the changing dynamics of regionalism and alliance-making in the Middle East alongside international relations approaches that focus on the role of ideas, interests, and domestic and external agency in explaining efforts to build consensus and cooperation around core issues. The chapter first considers the experience of the Middle East in the context of international relations theory before discussing the theory and practice of regional cooperation. It then examines how regime insecurity, local rivalry, instability, and external influence inhibit attempts to create regional community. It also shows how events since the Arab Spring have seen opportunities and challenges for Arab regional institutions. Finally, it explores new trends in studies of regionalism that depart from Eurocentric models, thus allowing us to rethink the role of regions from new perspectives.

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This chapter looks at the Arab uprisings and their outcomes, approaching them from the perspective of the peoples of the region. The Arab uprisings are conceived of as popular uprisings against aged and mostly despotic governments, which have long silenced popular dissent. Ultimately, the Arab uprisings demonstrate the weakness of traditional international relations, with its focus on states and power, by showing how much the people matter. Even if the Arab uprisings have not yet delivered on popular expectations, and the Arab world continues to be subject to external interference and persistent authoritarian rule, they are part of a process of global protest and change, facilitated by new media and technology, which challenges the dominant international relations theories.

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This chapter examines the Arab Spring and its outcomes from an international relations (IR) perspective by offering a revisionist interpretation that emphasizes the importance of the interactions of civic (peaceful/ruly) and non-civic (violent/unruly), top-down and bottom-up, state and non-state, local and global manifestations of political behaviour. The Arab Spring is generally regarded as a local phenomenon of ‘street politics’ with no connection to global trends. The chapter challenges this notion and throws the Arab ‘revolution’ into sharper relief, first by tracing its origin and second by analysing its ‘itinerary’ through the region in the context of globalization. It also explores the problem posed by the Arab Spring for Orientalism, and more specifically to Arab ‘exceptionalism’, as well as the centre–periphery dyad. Finally, it discusses the impact of the Arab Spring on democratization and the international relations of the uprisings.

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This chapter discusses different aspects of the Arab–Israeli conflict over time — military, political, and economic. The first two decades of the Arab–Israeli conflict, often marked by armed hostilities, were notable for Arab refusal to recognize Israel's existence. Since the 1967 war, Arab states, specifically Syria and Saudi Arabia, have displayed willingness to recognize Israel, and two, Egypt and Jordan, have signed peace treaties; Yasser Arafat recognized Israel's right to exist in the 1993 Oslo agreement. In this regard, most Arab states have adopted a realist approach to the Arab–Israeli conflict, seeking coexistence based in part on acceptance of Israel's military supremacy. In contrast, Israel appears to insist on security through regional domination, coupled with retention of the West Bank as Greater Israel.

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This chapter examines the military, political, and economic aspects of the Arab–Israel conflict over time. The Arab–Israeli conflict refers to the belligerency between the Arab states and Israel. The first Arab–Israeli War broke out immediately after the proclamation of the state of Israel on 14 May 1948, followed by other conflicts such as the 1967 and 1973 wars. The chapter first provides a historical background on the creation of Israel and how the Six Day War in 1967 gave rise to Arab nationalist rivalries and led to the re-emergence of the Palestinian factor in the Arab–Israeli conflict. It then considers the Egyptian–Israeli peace treaty and the Oslo peace process and shows how both realism and the contours of identity politics inform the position of different states in the conflict. It also discusses the relations between Palestine and Israel during the period 2000–2015.

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Peter Sluglett and Andrew Payne

This chapter examines the effects of the Cold War upon the states of the Middle East. Although the region was not so profoundly affected as other parts of the world in terms of loss of life or major revolutionary upheaval, it is clear that the lack of democracy and many decades of distorted political development in the Middle East are in great part a legacy of the region's involvement at the interstices of Soviet and American foreign policy. After a brief discussion of early manifestations of USSR–US rivalry in Greece, Turkey, and Iran at the beginning of the Cold War, the chapter uses Iraq as a case study of the changing nature of the relations between a Middle Eastern state and both superpowers from the 1940s until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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This chapter examines how the Cold War affected the states of the Middle East. More specifically, it considers the evidence of which factors drove regional developments and how it has been contested by both international relations and regional scholars. After providing an overview of the immediate origins of the Cold War, the chapter discusses the role played by oil during the Cold War. It then analyses early manifestations of the rivalry between the Soviets and the United States in Greece, Turkey, and Iran at the beginning of the Cold War, and uses Iraq as a case study of the changing nature of the relations between a Middle Eastern state and both superpowers from the 1940s until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Finally, it evaluates the overall impact of the Cold War on the Middle East as a whole.

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This chapter traces the origins and the entry of Middle East states into the international system after the First World War. The modern states of the Arab Middle East emerged from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the post-First World War settlement. The fall of the Ottoman Empire left the Turks and Arabs ready for statehood, although unprepared for dealing with the international system. Indeed, the Palestine crisis brought to light Arab weaknesses in the international arena and in regional affairs that were a legacy of the way in which the colonial powers shaped the emergence of the modern Middle East. Ultimately, the emergence of the state system in the Middle East is a history both of the creation of stable states and of destabilizing conflicts.

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This chapter examines the origins and the entry of Middle East states into the international system after the First World War. Drawing on the ideas of the English School of international relations, it traces the emergence of the Middle East that saw states entering and participating in the international society. After providing a historical overview of the Arab entry to international relations, the chapter considers diplomacy under the Ottoman Empire as well as the Ottoman legacy of statehood. It then discusses plans for the partition of the Middle East during the First World War, along with the post-war settlement. It also describes the colonial framework of the Middle East that emerged from the post-war negotiations and concludes with an assessment of the Arab states’ efforts to address the Palestine crisis in 1947 and 1948.

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Rosemary Hollis

This concluding chapter explores the evolution and development of European approaches to the Middle East. An expansion of European imperial rule across the Middle East followed the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War. By the end of the twentieth century, the United States was unrivalled power-broker across the region, but the Europeans had turned old imperialist relationships into commercial ones. Bound to MENA by economic interdependence and migration flows, the European Union (EU) formulated a series of initiatives designed to address new transnational security concerns through the deployment of ‘soft power’. By 2011 and the eruption of popular uprisings across the Arab world, the EU was itself in the throes of an economic crisis that forced a rethink in European policies toward the region and a reassertion of bilateralism.

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Rosemary Hollis

This chapter examines the evolution of European approaches to the Middle East. Realism would downplay the relevance of institutions such as the European Union and the limits to cooperation. Yet medium powers such as Europe can shape outcomes in international relations and there are Middle Eastern states that have looked to Europe to supply this balancing effect. The chapter discusses four discernible phases in the story of European involvement in the Middle East in the last hundred years. The first is the era of European imperialism in the Middle East; the second coincides with the Cold War, which witnessed the rivalry between the Western powers for commercial gain; the third period saw the EU member states set about devising a common foreign and security policy toward their neighbours in the Mediterranean; and the fourth covers the Arab Spring and the refugee crisis.

Chapter

Raymond Hinnebusch and Anoushiravan Ehteshami

This chapter studies foreign policymaking by regional states in the Middle East based on a ‘complex realist’ approach. This acknowledges the weight of realist arguments but highlights other factors such as the level of dependency on the United States, processes of democratization, and the role of leadership in informing states' foreign policy choices. To illustrate this approach, the chapter examines decision-making by four leading states — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt — in relation to the key events and crises of the last decade: the 2003 Iraq War; the 2006 Hezbollah War; and the post-2014 War with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS). The cases indicate that, as realists expect, states' foreign policies chiefly respond to threats and opportunities, as determined by their relative power positions.

Chapter

Raymond Hinnebusch and Anoushiravan Ehteshami

This chapter examines the process of foreign policymaking by regional states based on a ‘complex realist’ approach, which acknowledges the weight of realist (or power based) arguments but takes into account other factors such as the role of leadership in informing states’ foreign policy choices. The chapter first provides an overview of complex realism and the framework of analysis by considering the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) environment. It then illustrates the complex realist approach with an an assessment of decision-making by four leading states — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt — in relation to the key events and crises of the last decade: the 2003 Iraq War, the 2006 Lebanon War, and the post-2014 war with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The chapter concludes with a discussion of the relative weight of the various policymaking determinants in the 2000s.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on the international politics of the Gulf region, which are defined by the interplay of the local states and outside powers. The domestic framework and its interactions with transnational influences and external actors are crucial to understanding the environment within which local states operate — whether revolutionary Iran, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or the Gulf monarchies themselves. Given that regime security drives states in their foreign policies, the need to cope with both internal and external threats is compelling. Outside actors are important in as much as they supply or help to combat such threats. The withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and the relative immunity of the Gulf monarchies from the effects of the Arab Spring have afforded these states greater regional influence and autonomy, but events since 2015 also reveal deep divides among them over issues like IS, Iranian foreign policy, and the war in Yemen.

Chapter

Matteo Legrenzi and F. Gregory Gause III

This chapter examines the international politics of the Gulf region, with particular emphasis on the security challenges confronting the Gulf states. It begins with an analysis of the policies of Iraq and Saudi Arabia as well as the United States’s increased involvement, focusing on the issues of regime security, political identity, and balance-of-power politics as they emerged during the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–1988 and the Gulf War of 1990–1991, and also from the Saudis’ alliance decisions in the face of those wars and the Iraq War of 2003. It also discusses Iran’s role, its nuclear programme, and relations with the Arab Gulf states and concludes with some remarks on the significance of the negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1, along with the ramifications of the Saudi–Iran rivalry for the international politics of the Gulf and the balance of power in the entire region.

Book

International Relations of the Middle East provides a guide to the subject of international relations in this important region. It combines the analysis of the key themes, actors, and issues with the history of the region, and insights from international experts. The text provides a thematic overview of the subject, combining history with analysis, as well as topical material and perspectives. The text also offers a wide range of perspectives, encouraging readers to think critically to formulate their own arguments and opinions. Finally, it provides current, topical insights, including developments such as the Syrian conflict, the increasing importance of Russia and China in the region, and the impact of the Trump administration. One chapter looks at Russia, China, and the Middle East and examines the role of these increasingly important actors in the region. The text also includes coverage of the most recent developments, including those relating to the conflict in Syria, the refugee crisis, so-called Islamic State, and the impact of Trump.

Book

International Relations of the Middle East provides a balanced overview of international relations in the Middle East. Chapters combine a history of the region with analysis of key themes, actors, and conflicts, using a range of learning features and online resources to support learning. Offering a wide range of perspectives, this text exposes the reader to different approaches to the subject, and encourages them to think critically in order to draw their own conclusions. The text features a range of case studies and ‘micro-cases’ throughout, demonstrating the relevance of international relations theory in the contemporary Middle East, and helping the reader to apply learning to real world situations. The fourth edition features a new chapter on the Arab Spring, highlighting this significant development in contemporary Middle Eastern international relations, and an expanded discussion of rising powers in the region, such as Russia and China.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the different theories and approaches that characterize the study of international relations. Mainstream theories focus on the ways that states interact with one another in circumstances where no overarching authority governs their behavior — in other words, under conditions of anarchy. These theories include structural realism, neoliberal institutionalism, and the scholarship on relational contracting. An important alternative perspective — the English School — argues that, even under anarchic conditions, there is a high degree of orderliness in world affairs. Meanwhile, proponents of constructivism assert that states take shape in specific historical contexts, and that the conditions under which states coalesce and become socialized to one another play a crucial role in determining how they conceive of themselves and formulate their basic interests. Scholars of the Middle East have so far addressed only a fraction of the many theoretical debates and controversies that energize the field of international relations.

Chapter

This chapter examines the different theories and approaches that characterize the study of international relations, along with their application to the Middle East. International relations theory takes many forms and presents a variety of challenges that can be addressed using Middle Eastern cases. The field of international relations is dominated by structural realist theory. The chapter considers the assumptions of structural realism, neoliberal institutionalism, the English School, historical sociology, international society, constructivism, and relational contracting, along with post-structuralism and post-modernism. It also discusses political culture and statistical studies of world politics. In particular, it analyses some key findings from quantitative research in international relations. The chapter concludes with an assessment of power transition theory and power cycle theory, along with conceptual contributions from regional specialists.

Chapter

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the study of international relations in the Middle East. The two disciplines of international relations and Middle East studies are highly interdependent. No book on the contemporary politics of the Middle East can possibly ignore the way in which external forces have shaped the development of the region's politics, economics, and societies. Similarly, no international relations text can ignore the rich cases that the Middle East has supplied, and how they illuminate different theories and concepts of the discipline, whether in respect of patterns of war and peace, identity politics, or international political economy. The chapter then looks at some of the particular problems that arise in studying the international relations of the Middle East.