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.
It is frequently claimed that foreign policy making in MiddleEast states is either the idiosyncratic product of personalistic dictators or the irrational outcome of domestic instability. In fact, it can only be adequately understood by analysis of the multiple factors common to all states, namely: (1) foreign policy determinants (interests, challenges) to which decision-makers respond when they shape policies; and (2) foreign policy structures and processes which factor the ‘inputs’ made by various actors into a policy addressing these
This book and the study of the MiddleEast
This study takes the MiddleEast 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 (Cantori and Spiegel 1970; Ismael 1986: 5–13). Because the MiddleEast’s unique features defy analyses based on any one conceptual approach to international
While for much of the world globalisation is associated with growing interdependence and the spread of ‘zones of peace’, in the MiddleEast 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 early 1990s, prospects looked different to some observers: the end of the Cold War, the second Gulf War, and the advance of economic globalisation seemed to provide a unique
The MiddleEast has been profoundly shaped by the international system, or more precisely, the great powers, which dominate its developed ‘core’. The nineteenth-century expansion of capitalism and imperialism into the region reflected a combination of superior Western technological, market, and military power which penetrated and eventually reduced the MiddleEast to an economic periphery of the core and imposed a very flawed Western state system on it. Even after independence, Western capitalism continued to penetrate the MiddleEast: the
The roots of war
War has profoundly shaped the MiddleEast regional system. The MiddleEast has two of the world’s most enduring conflict centres, each originating in the impact of the West on the region. The establishment of Israel at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians led to a chain of wars, each of which added new grievances and issues complicating the possibility of a resolution. In the Gulf, the struggle over oil and oil routes has been expressed in another chain of wars which can be traced back to the
forge a common national identity among their populations. Where the drive to bring state and nation into correspondence is obstructed, irredentist conflicts tend to destabilise regimes and foster inter-state conflict. Nowhere is the divergence of identity and state sharper than in the MiddleEast. There popular identification with many individual states has been contested by strong sub- and supra-state identities, diluting and limiting the mass loyalty to the state typical where it corresponds to a recognised nation (Ayoob 1995: 47–70; Hudson 1977: 33
What explains the similarities and differences in the foreign policy behaviour of MiddleEast states? The relative explanatory weight carried by domestic politics versus that of the systemic arenas in which states operate is a matter of some dispute between pluralists on the one hand, and realists and structuralists on the other. On the face of it, if the domestic level is determinant, as pluralists tend to argue, different kinds of states should follow different foreign policies and similar ones similar policies. If the systemic level is
State-building is the effort of rulers to institutionalise state structures capable of absorbing expanding political mobilisation and controlling territory corresponding to an identity community. In the MiddleEast, the flaws built into the process from its origins have afflicted the states with enduring legitimacy deficits (Hudson 1977). Because imperialism drew boundaries that haphazardly corresponded to identity, installed client elites in them and created the power machineries of the new
What are the components of these relationships, widely regarded as one of the main crossroads in the MiddleEast, often said to include the United States, sometimes Jordan, and described in superlatives kept for rare occasions? (For example: “Israel’s relations with its second friend [with Turkey; the first is Washington] overshadow even its relations with the United States!”) The Turkish–Israeli system is called the “Baghdad Pact No. Two,” the remarkable tie, the “Phantom Pact,” “The Three Musketeers,” brilliant move