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1. International Relations Theory and the Middle East  

Fred H. Lawson

This chapter offers a detailed survey of international relations (IR) approaches, including the particular difficulties that IR in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region shares with other parts of the Global South. It highlights the creation of the modern states system in the Middle East that closely coincided with the development of international relations as an independent discipline. This discussion constitutes both an essential starting point and a useful set of tools for understanding the Middle East’s international relations and the relevant theoretical underpinnings. The chapter looks at vital and enduring points of entry into understanding the international politics of the Middle East via its twentieth-century history. It highlights the unending dialogue with the past that was underlined by the unanticipated course of events surrounding the Arab uprisings and their consequences.

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8. Regionalism and Shifting Alliances in the Middle East  

Louise Fawcett

This chapter offers an overview of the changing dynamics of regionalism and alliance-making in the Middle East, covering processes that are closely related to states’ foreign and domestic policy choices. It examines practices of regionalism alongside international relations approaches that consider the varied explanations of the roles of ideas, interests, and domestic and external agency. It also demonstrates the loose fit between traditional, international relations concerns and regional realities, citing the EU as an example that cannot be considered a useful model for a region like the Middle East. The chapter combines domestic, regional, and international factors to review the Middle East’s slow record in terms of successful institution-building and alliance volatility. It considers the theory and practice of regional cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and how the Middle East experience relates to comparative studies of regionalism.

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17. Russia, China, and the Middle East  

Roland Dannreuther

This chapter addresses the important relationships that are currently evolving between Russia, China, and the Middle East. Russia and China have emerged as increasingly powerful actors in the Middle East and their presence and influence in the region has grown significantly. While both states have had longstanding historical links with the region, the twenty-first-century panorama is a quite distinctive one, with new economic and geopolitical factors driving a return to Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In addition, significant Muslim populations in both countries add another dynamic to contemporary Russian and Chinese relations with MENA. The chapter then identifies the challenges this presents for the United States and the West, and how the states and peoples of the Middle East are responding to the resurgence of Russian and Chinese power in the region.

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18. Europe in the Middle East  

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.