Open Access (free)
Sovereignty, violence and revolution in the Middle East
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In events that have since become known as the Arab Uprisings or Arab Revolutions, people across the Middle East took to the streets to express their anger and frustration at political climates, demanding political and economic reform. In a number of cases, protest movements were repressed, often violently, with devastating repercussions for human security and peace across the region.

While a number of scholars have sought to understand how the protests occurred, this book looks at sovereignty and the relationship between rulers and ruled to identify and understand both the roots of this anger but also the mechanisms through which regimes were able to withstand seemingly existential pressures and maintain power.

Open Access (free)
The struggle to shape the Middle East

Saudi Arabia and Iran: The struggle to shape the Middle East provides a detailed exploration of the rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran across the Middle East. As one of the most compelling rivalries in international politics, the Saudi–Iranian competition for regional influence has impacted on a number of different locales. After the onset of the Arab Uprisings and the fragmentation of regime–society relations, communal relations have continued to degenerate, as societal actors retreat into sub-state identities, whilst difference becomes increasingly violent, spilling out beyond state borders. The power of religion – and the trans-state nature of religious linkages – thus provides the means for actors, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, to exert influence over a number of groups across the region. Given these issues, the contributions to this volume, and the collection as a whole, have two main aims: firstly, to explore the nature of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran within the contemporary Middle East; and secondly, to consider the impact of this rivalry upon regional and domestic politics across the Middle East. This volume examines how the rivalry is perceived in both Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as in the contestation over religious legitimacy. It also offers in-depth explorations of the impact of this rivalry upon five regional states: Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Lebanon and Yemen, all sites of contestation between Riyadh and Tehran, albeit in different guises. In doing so, it highlights how the rivalry is shaped by the contingencies of time and space.

Simon Mabon

not necessarily the literal manifestation of Agamben’s bare life, political meaning had been stripped from groups across the region, wherein individuals are bound by the laws of the state yet not protected by such laws. For Agamben, once in this position, there is no escape and one should accept the position of ‘being thus’.2 Yet looking across the region in the early months of 2011, it was difficult to view events as the acceptance of the status quo. Instead, what quickly became known as the Arab Uprisings was seen as the rejection of being thus and the

in Houses built on sand
Open Access (free)
Simon Mabon

211 8 Houses built on sand The crisis consists in the fact that the old [order] is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a large variety of morbid symptoms appear. Antonio Gramsci, Passato e presente Ana wa akhi ala ibn ammi, ana wa ibn ammi ala algharib. [My brother and I against our cousin, my cousin and I against a stranger.] An old Beouin saying In the fallout from the Arab Uprisings, a number of parallels have been drawn with the Thirty Years’ War across Europe in the seventeenth century.1 Take the opening lines of an article by Richard

in Houses built on sand
Open Access (free)
Simon Mabon

the protests emerged from state-​building processes, which facilitated the widespread repression that followed the uprisings. Although a number of regimes created bare life in an attempt to end the protest movements, this was not always successful. Instead, because of the existence of strong normative currents across the region, further mechanisms of control were deemed necessary. This chapter traces regime responses in the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings, beginning with the declaration of emergency powers before moving to consideration of securitising moves  –​the

in Houses built on sand
Open Access (free)
Simon Mabon

increasingly difficult in such contexts, where the spread of identities and religious groups provides opportunities for a range of actors to wield influence and highlights the fragility of states across the region. It is this struggle to regulate life amid instances of contested sovereignty across the Middle East that is the main focus of this book. A growing body of work quickly emerged in the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings, the spate of protests that cut across the Middle East in early 2011. The literature on the uprisings spans a range of different theoretical

in Houses built on sand
Rekindling of Shia loyalty and Sunni fears in Bahrain
Rashed al-Rasheed

study were of the opinion that the political orientation of some Shia groups in Iraq and Lebanon were compatible with those of Iran, and these groups consequently sought to intensify sectarian tensions in Bahraini society during the 2011 crisis, as well as threatening state sovereignty by interfering in local political life. 68 Re-framing regional sectarianism The Arab Uprisings in 2011 were of great significance for Tehran in terms of maintaining its regional leverage and ideological goals. 69 In 2015, Khamenei stated that

in Saudi Arabia and Iran
The view from Tehran
Banafsheh Keynoush
and
Edward Wastnidge

achievable, is viewed by Tehran as the best guarantee to ensure security. It is by letting the regional states develop modalities to re-balance the distribution of power in the Middle East that peace can be restored. 11 This chapter primarily focuses on developments in Iranian–Saudi relations after the Arab Uprisings in 2011. This is a period in which relations between the two states have arguably reached their lowest ebb since the Iranian Revolution and so provides us with a critical time period in which to analyse the

in Saudi Arabia and Iran
Open Access (free)
Simon Mabon
and
Edward Wastnidge

instrumentalised use of religious difference. This book aims to offer further nuance to understanding and explaining the relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia by considering the implications of the rivalry upon regional politics. Although both religion and geopolitics are important for understanding the nature of the rivalry, reducing analysis to either approach is deeply problematic. After the onset of the Arab Uprisings and the fragmentation of regime–society relations, communal relations have continued to degenerate, as

in Saudi Arabia and Iran
Open Access (free)
The end of the dream
Simon Mabon

aftermath of the Arab Uprisings where violence was used to crush protest movements, seemingly whatever the cost. The fragmentation of sovereign borders and retreat into communal identities collapsed domestic and regional politics into new spaces of the political that placed regime survival above human security, albeit not curtailed by territorial borders. Following regime responses to the uprisings, intractable conflicts have emerged, becoming all-​encompassing, dividing societies and communities along political lines. Socio-​economic contexts add additional

in Houses built on sand