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.
and why this is the case, the chapter examines the specific
discourses of security employed by opposing political groups during key
periods in the history of the Arab–Israeliconflict.
Turning to the Israeli case, it is striking how little the
State of Israel in 2001 resembles the nascent state declared during May
of 1948. Most of the goals of the first generation of state-builders
negotiations in the 1990s
resulted from a series of international pressures and realignments.
Along with the intifada , popular opinion in other Middle Eastern
societies expressed an increasing dissatisfaction with the human cost of
The Madrid Peace Conference in 1991 was the first instance
in which parties to the Arab–Israeliconflict engaged in direct
transforming the Jewish national character from a persecuted minority in
the diaspora into a sovereign and independent majority in Palestine. The
army was given a special role in the transformation of both the Israeli
citizen and Israeli society ( Almog, 1993 ), and the process of state development. Over the
years, the protracted Arab–Israeliconflict has effectively
positioned the state and
, Israel was rejecting the latest bid for a negotiated settlement to the Arab–Israeliconflict. Taking advantage of the damage this did to moderate Arab leaders, notably Egypt’s Mubarak who promoted his role as Arab-Israeli interlocutor, Saddam proposed a confrontational stand against Israel’s American backer, urging the use of the oil weapon, and, in response to Israeli threats, warning that he would burn half of Israel (with chemically armed missiles) if it attacked any Arab country. The enthusiastic mass response to this strengthened and emboldened Saddam. But his
societal (and social) security and
political rights were generally either ignored by Arab regimes or, more
commonly, placated by focusing on external adventures or foreign policy
goals, thus deflecting attention from the regimes’ failures to
achieve economic, social and political expectations. The
Arab–Israeliconflict, in particular, was a ‘stopgap,
legitimacy-rich mechanism’ ( Sela, 1998 : 27), but other
policies resembling classic reason of state and directed chiefly at perceived external threats. This unevenness of state formation, issuing from the earlier independence of Turkey and the transplant of a mobilised Zionism into the region meant the Arab states confronted much stronger non-Arab opponents.
Stage 2: Preconsolidation praetorianism and divergent paths: revolutionary republics, traditional survival (1949–70)
The Palestine War, the struggle to throw off imperialism and the Arab-Israeliconflict rapidly accelerated
in an equitable resolution of the Arab–Israeliconflict made them interdependent.
Oil and state consolidation
Oil gave impetus to the consolidation of both states. Oil revenues radically increased the Saudi regime’s autonomy of society, whose taxes it no longer needed. At the same time, the centralisation and bureaucratisation of the state enabled the al-Saud to subordinate autonomous social forces. The once autonomous Hijazi merchants were absorbed into corporatist relations with the bureaucracy; the ulama lost their
war. The failure of order-building efforts to address these war-inducing factors means the Middle East has been immune to the spread of the ‘zone of peace’.
The emergence of a Middle East system
Built-in irredentism: origins of the Arab–Israeliconflict
The irredentism built into the flawed states system imposed on the region after World War I was epitomised by the conflict over Palestine, perhaps the single factor which has most profoundly shaped Middle East international politics. This conflict
deployed outside the Soviet Bloc. Israel, realising the magnitude of the Soviet involvement, stopped the deep penetration bombing. To defuse the situation, the US, in the Rogers Plan, proposed a ceasefire and a broader settlement of the Arab–Israeliconflict. Nasser’s internationalisation of the conflict did not, however, break the occupation stalemate (Evron 1973: 96–101, 185–6; Riad 1982: 103–7; Smith 1996: 217–20; Walt 1987: 108–10).
Meanwhile, indeed, the US relationship with Israel grew ever closer despite certain conflicts of interest between