Robert Mason
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Indonesia and Malaysia
Transnationalism and Islamic leadership
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Having sat on the periphery of Gulf politics and Islam for decades, Southeast Asia is becoming a hotbed of local and interregional activity once more, partly spurred on by Iran filling a vacuum left by Gulf Cooperation Council state disinterest. Following the growth of Al Qaeda and ISIS in the Middle East and the Taliban becoming the dominant power once again in Afghanistan, debates surrounding violent Islamism and Islamic fundamentalism have been ignited, to which these states are responding. This chapter provides an overview of Saudi and United Arab Emirates engagement with Indonesia and Malaysia, referencing changes in the domestic politics of these nations and the evolving bases of their centuries-old interactions. Malaysia’s Muslim summit in 2019 positioned it briefly as a ‘challenger state’, underscoring an emerging fault line between these Asian states with diverse identities, constitutions, governance and policies.

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Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Foreign policy and strategic alliances in an uncertain world


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