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Chapter

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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This chapter examines the landmark series of negotiations between Arabs and Israelis in the early 1990s, culminating in the Oslo accords (1993), which marked the first and so far, the only sustained effort at peaceful resolution of the Arab–Israeli conflict. These events, which dominated the regional panorama and captured the international imagination, assist one's understanding not only of the nature and direction of Middle East politics, but also their positioning within the emerging international order as outlined by then US President George H. W. Bush. At first, it seemed that the accords, in reconciling the two major parties to the conflict — the Israelis and the Palestinians — were a demonstration of an emerging and more liberal international system. Yet the fragility of this system, in the Middle East as elsewhere, was soon exposed.

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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 assesses the evolution of US policy towards the Middle East. It begins with a historical sketch of US involvement in the area, discussing the traditional US interests. The chapter then considers US policy in the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald J. Trump. President Obama's attempt to reset relations with the region produced mixed results: he reached an agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and oversaw the successful Bin Laden raid in 2011, but failed to offset continuing regional turmoil following the Arab uprisings and the rise of IS, or to make any progress on the Israel–Palestine question. While there are some observable continuities, President Trump has already upended US Middle East policy in several significant ways, as advisors attempt to restrain his apparent desire to undo his predecessor's legacy.

Chapter

This chapter considers future prospects for US foreign policy on the basis of long-established patterns and other factors such as the interests and ideology of elites, the structures of political life, the country’s real or perceived national interests, and the increasingly troubled domestic scene. It first examines the ideological roots of US foreign policy before discussing some of the major contemporary challenges for US foreign policy, including relations with China, US military power, and the US political order. It then describes the basic contours of US foreign policy over the next generation with respect to the Middle East, the Far East, Russia, Europe and the transatlantic relationship, climate change, and international trade. It also presents catastrophic scenarios for American foreign policy and argues that there will no fundamental change in US global strategy whichever of the two dominant political parties is in power.

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This chapter focuses on stability and instability in less developed countries in the post-Cold War period. One of the signs, alongside the end of the Cold War, that old enmities were breaking down and that a more liberal-democratic world order might be emerging, was the end of apartheid in South Africa. This development followed a long period in which White supremacy had been in decline in southern Africa, leaving the home of apartheid exposed to strong external pressures. After discussing the end of apartheid in Southern Africa, the chapter considers developments in Central Africa, in particular Rwanda and Zaire, as well as the Middle East and East Asia. It concludes with an assessment of the rise of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967–89, the emergence of the ‘tiger’ economies in the 1990s, and the post-1997 economic crisis.

Chapter

This chapter focuses on stability and instability in less developed countries in the post-Cold War period. One of the signs, alongside the end of the Cold War, that old enmities were breaking down and that a more liberal-democratic world order might be emerging, was the end of apartheid in South Africa. This development followed a long period in which White supremacy had been in decline in southern Africa, leaving the home of apartheid exposed to strong external pressures. After discussing the end of apartheid in Southern Africa, the chapter considers developments in Central Africa, in particular Rwanda and Zaire, as well as the Middle East and East Asia. It concludes with an assessment of the rise of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967–1989, the emergence of the ‘tiger’ economies in the 1990s, and the post-1997 economic crisis.

Chapter

This chapter examines possible futures for American foreign policy in terms of the interests and ideology of the U.S. elites (and to a lesser extent the population at large), the structures of U.S. political life, and the real or perceived national interests of the United States. It first provides an overview of the ideological roots of U.S. foreign policy before discussing key contemporary challenges for U.S. foreign policy. In particular, it considers American relations with China, how to mobilize U.S. military power for foreign policy goals, and the issue of foreign aid. The chapter proceeds by analysing the most important features of America’s future foreign policies, focusing on the Middle East, the Far East, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and Europe and the transatlantic relationship. It concludes by describing some catastrophic scenarios that could accelerate the decline of US power.

Chapter

This chapter examines the issue of political reform in the Middle East. More specifically, it considers the enormous challenges that face proponents of political reform in the region. To this end, the chapter focuses on the legacies of state formation that shape the contemporary political systems, as well as the changing economic and social parameters of societies in today’s Middle East. After explaining the democracy deficit in the Middle East, the chapter shows that the Arab states have been slow to respond to the global processes of democratization. It also explores the political economy of Arab states, the persistence of conflict, regime type, and the ambiguity over the relationship between democracy and Islam. Finally, it analyses the Arab Spring as evidence of the vibrancy and growth of civil society in many states across the region.

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 examines decolonization and the changes that took place within the European empires during the early years of the Cold War. Decolonization constituted a crucial element of the new international order after the Second World War and formed part of the broader shift in the global balance of power. The war marked the end of the European-dominated system of nation states and was followed by the decline of the major European powers, with international dominance lying for a quarter of a century with the United States, challenged only by the Soviet Union. The chapter considers the challenges to colonial rule that were evident in both Africa and Asia during the inter-war years. It also discusses the imperialism and the struggles against it that have formed part of a post-war landscape in the Middle East.

Chapter

This chapter examines how the United States and the Soviet Union sought to win the hearts and minds of people in various parts of the world as empires began to collapse during the period 1953–63. It begins with a discussion of the end of the French Empire, taking into account the loss of French Indo-China and the start of American involvement in Vietnam, along with the collapse of French rule in Morocco and Tunisia. It then considers the crises in the Congo, Angola, and the Middle East, focusing on the zenith of the Cold War in Black Africa, Britain’s declining power, and the Suez Crisis. It concludes by looking at the end of the British Empire in Africa.

Chapter

This chapter examines decolonization and the changes that took place within the European empires during the early years of the Cold War. Decolonization constituted a crucial element of the new international order after the Second World War and formed part of the broader shift in the global balance of power. The war marked the end of the European-dominated system of nation states and was followed by the decline of the major European powers, with international dominance lying for a quarter of a century with the United States, challenged only by the Soviet Union. The chapter considers the challenges to colonial rule that were evident in both Africa and Asia during the inter-war years. It also discusses the imperialism and the struggles against it that have formed part of a post-war landscape in the Middle East.

Chapter

This chapter examines how the United States and the Soviet Union sought to win the hearts and minds of people in various parts of the world as empires began to collapse during the period 1953–1963. It begins with a discussion of the end of the French Empire, taking into account the loss of French Indo-China and the start of American involvement in Vietnam, along with the collapse of French rule in Morocco and Tunisia. It then considers the crises in the Congo, Angola, and the Middle East, focusing on the zenith of the Cold War in Black Africa, Britain’s declining power, and the Suez crisis. It concludes by looking at the end of the British Empire in Africa.

Chapter

Francesco Cavatorta

This chapter examines why democratic openings failed to consolidate in the Middle East and North Africa despite the profound influence of the global wave of democratization on both regions. Authoritarianism persists in the region comprising the Middle East and North Africa. Nevertheless, countries in the region experienced changes since the consolidation of authoritarian rule soon after decolonization. The chapter considers a number of explanations for the durability of authoritarian rule in the Middle East and North Africa in the face of both domestic and international pressures for democratic governance. In particular, it discusses the role of Islamist political actors and Israel. It also looks at the region’s political culture and society, business and economy, and agents of democratization and democratic failure. Finally, it describes institutional challenges for the region’s chances to become more democratic.

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

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 explores contemporary security in the Middle East by highlighting the nexus between the uses and justification of violence. Focusing on the post 9/11 reordering of the Middle East, it shows how state and non-state actors use the rhetoric of the ‘war on terror’ to depoliticize military interventions against political rivals. More specifically, it argues that such actors mobilize the politics of shame to contain and undermine their rivals. Such efforts are met with attempts to counter-shame and re-politicize the use of violence, producing a cycle of action and counter-action that seeks to legitimize and delegitimize competing visions of security and order in the Middle East. In this context, security and insecurity are two sides of the same coin that fluctuate according to the prevailing balance of power.

Chapter

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.

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.