It is frequently claimed that foreign policy making in Middle East states is either the idiosyncratic product of personalistic dictators or the irrational outcome of domestic instability. This chapter notes that it can only be adequately understood by analysis of the multiple factors common to all states, namely: foreign policy determinants (interests, challenges) to which decision-makers respond when they shape policies; and foreign policy structures and processes which factor the ‘inputs’ made by various actors into a policy addressing these determinants.
In this chapter, Israel is the immediate context for exploring gender roles ascribed by national security, and the cleavages that result from a society in constant state of war. It explores the gendered aspects of national security in Israel and considers the ways in which women are domesticated within their protection systems. The chapter also considers how current gender boundaries have developed historically and in relation to the political process in Israel. It discusses the politics of women's resistance in order to explore women's alternative understandings of security. Israeli women have organized around two main responses to the gendered structures of war, responses that correspond to the mainstreaming versus independence debate in feminist theory. Israeli women have always had a difficult relationship with the Israeli military-industrial complex. Since the 1990s, significant changes have taken place in the Middle East military-industrial arena because of the evolution of the strategic environment.
This chapter notes that the incongruity of identity and territory continues to destabilise the politics of the Middle East and to significantly qualify the Westphalian model. While Arab states have consolidated their sovereignty in the face of supra-state ideology, in the making of foreign policy, legitimacy requires their leaders must still balance between the two. Inter-Arab politics arguably remains qualitatively different from ‘international’ politics. Irredentist conflicts continue to bedevil two near-nation-states, Turkey and Israel. Meanwhile, Iran embraces its communal mosaic and projects its foreign policy under an Islamic banner.
This text aims to fill a gap in the field of Middle Eastern political studies by combining international relations theory with concrete case studies. It begins with an overview of the rules and features of the Middle East regional system—the arena in which the local states, including Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Israel and the Arab states of Syria, Jordan and Iraq, operate. The book goes on to analyse foreign-policy-making in key states, illustrating how systemic determinants constrain this policy-making, and how these constraints are dealt with in distinctive ways depending on the particular domestic features of the individual states. Finally, it goes on to look at the outcomes of state policies by examining several major conflicts including the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Gulf War, and the system of regional alignment. The study assesses the impact of international penetration in the region, including the historic reasons behind the formation of the regional state system. It also analyses the continued role of external great powers, such as the United States and the former Soviet Union, and explains the process by which the region has become incorporated into the global capitalist market.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers security in relation to the political sector in terms of processes of democratization in the region and demands of new groups for wider and more meaningful access to political decision making. It establishes a theoretical context for redefining security in the Middle East by considering a range of concepts, debates and theories that have traditionally been absent from the field. The book provides an analytical model for redefining national security as a theory and as a practice in the post-Cold War era. It explores fundamental issues related to Islamophobia and the West, the relationship between Islam and democracy, and circumstances for groups and parties to gain political power and effect social change through indigenous tools and symbols.
This study takes the Middle East to be constituted around an Arab core, with a shared identity but fragmented into multiple territorial states; the core is flanked by a periphery of non-Arab states—Turkey, Iran and Israel—which are an intimate part of the region's conflicts and an integral part of its balance of power. This chapter argues that the Middle East is the epicentre of world crisis, chronically war-prone and the site of the world's most protracted conflicts. It also argues that that the roots of conflict and much state behaviour are found in the peculiar historical construction of the regional system.
This chapter assesses the renewed destabilising impact of international attempts to reshape the regional order in an age of unipolarity and globalisation. For much of the world, globalisation is associated with growing interdependence and the spread of ‘zones of peace’. In the Middle East, the decade of globalisation was ushered in by war, was marked by intrusive US hegemony, renewed economic dependency on the core and continuing insecurity, and ended with yet another round of war in 2001. In the latest case, the 11 September events, the particular character of the crisis was shaped by the dominant features of the current international system, namely US hegemony and globalisation. The US response, an intensification of its military intervention in the region, appears likely to exacerbate the problem it seeks to address.
In the Middle East, security is strongly influenced by politicized forms of fundamental belief systems. This chapter examines the dual role of political Islam, with specific focus on Palestine and the case of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, in the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas is gaining in popular support due to renewed violence in the Middle East and the Palestinian population's increased endorsement of suicide or 'martyrdom' operations against Israeli targets. Throughout its short history, Hamas has continued to depict its movement most fundamentally as a clear and viable alternative to the secular forces led by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). The uncompromising position assumed by Hamas, toward both Israel and the PLO moderates willing to negotiate with the Israelis, is clearly intended to gain adherents to Hamas' more 'revolutionary' approach to the Palestinian issue.
For over five decades, the Cold War security agenda was distinguished by the principal strategic balance, that of a structure of bipolarity, between the United States (US) and the Soviet Union (USSR). This book seeks to draw from current developments in critical security studies in order to establish a new framework of inquiry for security in the Middle East. It addresses the need to redefine security in the Middle East. The focus is squarely on the Arab-Israeli context in general, and the Palestinian-Israeli context in particular. The character of Arab-Israeli relations are measured by the Israeli foreign policy debate from the 1950s to the 1990s. A dialogue between Islam and Islamism as a means to broaden the terrain on which conflict resolution and post-bipolar security in the Middle East is to be understood is presented. The Middle East peace process (MEPP) was an additional factor in problematizing the military-strategic concept of security in the Middle East. The shift in analysis from national security to human security reflects the transformations of the post-Cold War era by combining military with non-military concerns such as environmental damage, social unrest, economic mismanagement, cultural conflict, gender inequity and radical fundamentalism. By way of contrast to realist international relations (IR) theory, developing-world theorists have proposed a different set of variables to explain the unique challenges facing developing states. Finally, the book examines the significance of ecopolitics in security agendas in the Middle East.
This chapter focuses on the normative change in the international peacekeeping operations of the United Nations (UN). It explains that the normative basis of UN peacekeeping in intra-state conflicts has evolved unevenly but appreciably in terms of both objectives and authority from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. It analyses the collective expectations of the international community, focusing specifically on the objectives and authority of the UN in relation to intra-state peacekeeping environments in the two specified time periods.