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The end of the dream
Simon Mabon
in Houses built on sand
Abstract only
Simon Mabon

With links between the Gulf states and the Horn of Africa dramatically developing; the areas of possible collaboration and conflict have also expanded; prompting the need for more detailed empirical and conceptual analysis. In pursuit of this; the concluding section of this collection seeks to draw empirical and theoretical/conceptual themes together. In particular; the conclusion highlights the importance of rich theoretical analysis of cross-regional engagement along the lines put forward by Barry Buzan and Ole Waever. Weaving theoretical and empirical approaches together; this conclusion seeks to shed light on the challenges and opportunities for Gulf states and the Horn of Africa.

in The Gulf States and the Horn of Africa
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.

Interests, influences and instability
Editors: and

This volume explores the complex nature of interactions between states in the Persian Gulf and their counterparts in the Horn of Africa. Focusing on the nature of interregional connections between the Gulf and the Horn; it explores the multifaceted nature of relations between two increasingly important subregions. Bringing together scholars focusing on both regions; the book offers a rigorous analysis of the changing nature of relations between the different subregions and also the complexity of competition within each subregion. Considering strategic competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran; along with international engagement such as joint anti-piracy operations; counterterrorism cooperation; shipping routes; and economic development; the volume provides valuable insight into the strategic importance of these interactions.

Drawing on a range of subject expertise and field research across case study countries; the volume adds to the sparse literature on the regional and international politics of the Horn of Africa and Red Sea; gleaning specific insights through contemporary reflections across the book.

Open Access (free)
Simon Mabon
and
Edward Wastnidge

Efforts to understand the rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran have produced a body of literature that can be separated into three camps. The first suggests that the rivalry is best understood through a balance of power in the Gulf. The second suggests that religion plays a prominent role in shaping the nature of the rivalry and that so-called proxy conflicts have been drawn along sectarian lines. The third suggests that a more nuanced approach is needed, drawing upon concerns about regime power and legitimacy – externally and internally – with instrumentalised use of religious difference. This chapter introduces the broader parameters of the debate around the Iran–Saudi rivalry, incorporating key works in the field to date. It also provides a historical contextualisation of this key geopolitical relationship. This introductory chapter concludes by outlining the individual chapter contributions to the volume.

in Saudi Arabia and Iran
Stephen Royle
and
Simon Mabon

This chapter makes use of data from fieldwork carried out in Iraq to explore how competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia is experienced on the ground in that country. The chapter starts by contextualising the importance of Iraq to regional security, along with the efforts of Iran to capitalise on the favourable conditions created for it by the fall of Saddam Hussein, and subsequent Saudi fears of Iran’s growing role there. The chapter homes in on the largely Sunni province of Anbar, and highlights the role of the Iran-aligned factions of the Popular Mobilisation Units in economic and political life there, as well as Saudi efforts to enhance its relations with sympathetic actors in the country.

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

This final chapter offers some reflections and conclusions as to how the rivalry between the two regional powers of Iran and Saudi Arabia is realised differently through time and space. Though competition and rivalry appear to predominate in the calculus of both states, shown starkly by how this has manifested in the cases explored in this volume, the authors seek to offer a less pessimistic outlook for the future of relations between the states. As key powers in a contested region, Iran and Saudi Arabia need to move towards greater accommodation and understanding of one another’s interests to secure the future peace and prosperity of the Middle East.

in Saudi Arabia and Iran