- Louise Fawcett
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.