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10. Middle East Security: The Politics of Violence after the 2003 Iraq War  

Marina Calculli

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.

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14. The International Politics of the Gulf  

Matteo Legrenzi

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.

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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.

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4. The Middle East Since the Cold War: Movement without Progress  

Bahgat Korany

This chapter focuses on the Middle East during the post-Cold-War era. It introduces some the key themes that have come to dominate contemporary international relations of the Middle East: oil; new and old conflicts; the impacts of globalization; and religio-politics. In considering the major security patterns and trends in the Middle East, one finds a number of enduring issues, such as the Arab–Israeli conflict and border disputes. At the same time, one can see elements of change, both within these conflicts and with the emergence of recent threats, such as Iranian nuclearization, with profound consequences for regional alliance structures. As old and new security issues mingle in the geopolitical order, events of the past few years reflect a region dominated by conflict clusters. It is no surprise then that the Middle East remains a highly militarized region.

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12. The International Politics of the Gulf  

Matteo Legrenzi

This chapter explores the shifting security dynamics in the Gulf, focusing on the policies of Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, as well as the shifting patterns of US involvement. It argues that the classical realist tool, the balance of power, only partly explains the positioning of states. It also points out the importance of the domestic framework and its interactions with transnational influences and external actors to understanding the environment within which local states operate. The chapter explores the need to manage both internal and external threats as regime security drives states in their foreign policies. It talks about the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and the relative immunity of the Gulf monarchies from the effects of the Arab Spring, which have afforded greater regional influence and autonomy for the states.

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9. Security in the Middle East: Whose Security?  

Pinar Bilgin

This chapter takes a critical look at the question of security in the Middle East by asking whose security concerns have been principally addressed in the history of the modern region. It traces the origins of the invention of the Middle East in Britain’s colonial practices. It also reviews how the politics of the Cold War impinged on local dynamics, including the ways in which women were rendered insecure by virtue of dominant statist and top-down approaches to security. The chapter considers the wider implications of non-state actor activism for the future of regional security. It discusses the collaboration between like-minded policymakers and other elites in North America, Western Europe, and the Middle East that tilted the balance against civil society in the Arab World and made the life of the average Arab citizen a terrible field of insecurity.