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Cover International Relations of the Middle East

10. Foreign Policymaking in the Middle East: Complex Realism  

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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Cover International Relations of the Middle East

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.

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Cover International Relations of the Middle East

5. Oil and Political Economy in the International Relations of the Middle East  

Giacomo Luciani

This chapter looks at the role of oil in the political economy and the international relations of the Middle East. Oil is commonly considered a political commodity. Because of its pivotal importance as a primary source of energy, governments are concerned with its continued availability and seek to minimize import dependence. Historically, interest in oil — especially in the United Kingdom and the United States — strongly influenced attitudes towards the Middle East and the formation of the state system in the region, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Oil also affects the power balance within the region. The polarization in the region between oil-rich and oil-poor states is thus an essential tool of analysis. The parallel distinction between rentier and non-rentier states helps to explain how oil affects the domestic political development of the oil-rich states and influences their regional relations.