International relations of the Middle East

The Middle East is one of the most conflict-ridden regions on the globe. Its unique geographic and strategic location on the world map makes the region more prone to regional powers seeking to establish themselves in the region. Besides its strategic position, the Middle East is also the origin of the three most popular monotheistic religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The region also boasts the largest and greatest oil reserve in the world. Any small regional or international conflict in the Middle East has the power to disrupt and even destabilize global stability. No wonder there have been dozens of attempts launched in the past couple of decades seeking to overthrow the existing government.

Surprisingly, even with the continued attacks over the years, no single dominant power has been able to establish itself in the regions except for Egypt, which gave in during the six-day war in 1967. In the years that ensued, Egypt, Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia have been in a continued quest to gain regional supremacy of the Middle East. The context of Middle East International relations is defined by three major historical junctures. One is the end of the Cold War and Gulf wars in 1990-1991. The end of the war was meant to stop this conflict between the East and the West. However, only external conditions shifted, and regional conflict persisted between the two regions. The attacks of September 2001 and the Iraq invasion in 2003 also marked important junctures in the International relations of the Middle East.

The current context is given in reference to the Arab rebellion of 2011. During the first two decades succeeding the Cold war, the Non-Arab competitors had continued to gain the upper hand in terms of power until the 2011 Arab uprisings. The rebellion impacted not only the internal organization of individual region’s states but also stimulated the reorganization of both regional and international relations. The Arab revolt prompted the takeover of several previously dominant Arab regimes and shook the survival of many more. What ensued were several minor wars and civil conflicts that prompted the existing authorities to intensify and strengthen their power and control in the region. The Uprisings also redesigned regional balances and impacted the policies of outside influences seeking to intervene in the region.

To date, the exists no unanimity in the middle East. Even a simple agreement like the name of the region is a hustle. The continuously shifting political environment influenced by the 2011 uprisings continues to present unlimited opportunities to introduce new and unique ways of collaborating both at the domestic and international levels. The current cumulating demand for democracy, social justice, and employment opportunities continues to pressure the current political leadership to be open to new ways that foster economic growth.

Akbarzadeh, Shahram, and Kylie Baxter. Middle East Politics and International Relations: Crisis Zone. Taylor & Francis, 2018.

Fawcett, Louise L’Estrange, ed. International relations of the Middle East. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Zvyagelskaya, I. D. “Symbols and Values in International Relations in the Middle East.” Polis. Political Studies 1, no. 1 (2019): 105-123.

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