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.
terrorists, who in June 1996 bombed the American base in Daharan, killing nineteen soldiers and wounding hundreds of others. Egypt, one of the United States’ closest allies was not only increasingly critical of Washington’s policies on the Arab-Israeliconflict, but also drawing closer to Libya, one of the United Sates regional bâte noirs . Even Israel, perhaps the United States’ staunchest Middle East ally, appeared, following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and election of the right-wing Benyamin Netanyahu to the post of Prime Minister, set on giving Washington a
, 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
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
as the EEC refused to cede to American demands that a higher degree of linkage
between economic and political matters should be implemented. When the
EEC sought a separate policy initiative towards the Arab–Israeliconflict which
directly contradicted US policy at the end of 1973, it was with some justification that US policy-makers lamented the expansion of the EEC.
It was Kissinger’s ‘Year of Europe’, however, that sparked considerable US–
UK disagreement. The ‘Year of Europe’ initially illustrated procedural problems
for US–UK interaction now that
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
East had often clashed since the beginning of the Cold War. With Heath coming to office this only continued, and his
ambition of resolving the Arab–Israeliconflict caused further US–UK disagreement. Heath had signalled his intention to find a resolution to the Arab–Israeliconflict soon after assuming office and this solution, as Douglas-Home publicly
declared in October 1970 during a speech at Harrogate, would be based on the
general contours of UN Resolution 242. Briefly summarised, this meant that
Israel would have to surrender the land it had occupied following
was decisive in forcing Egypt to seek a negotiated solution, he argues that the role of leadership in the bargaining process decided the exact terms of the settlement in Israel’s favour. At Camp David and thereafter, Israel got all that it wanted – a peace treaty which took Egypt out of the Arab–Israeliconflict and left it free to incorporate the West Bank/Gaza area – while Egypt failed to get recognition of the principle of Palestinian rights, failed to link normalisation of relations with Israel to progress on the Palestinian front, and failed even to get a