Regional and International Strategy for Arabian Gulf Security: A Perspective on the Driving Forces of Strategic Conflict and the Local Response
The importance of the security of the Arabian Gulf region has, in the modern era, exceeded regional borders. Ever since Portuguese vessels anchored off Hormuz in 1507, European powers have become an integral part of regional conflict in the Arabian Gulf, which can be considered one of the most important trade and transport routes in the world. By the nineteenth century, Britain had succeeded in ousting competing European powers and dominated the Arabian Gulf, using it as a crucial link to its colonies in India. Following the discovery of oil in the twentieth century, the economic and geopolitical importance of the Gulf increased and the United States of America (USA) became a major player in the security balance which has become increasingly more complex and challenging over the last two decades. The most notable outcome of the development in the strategic importance of the Arabian Gulf has been increased competition between regional and international actors and increased security tensions, which have led to three wars in the region during the period 1980-2003. Following the recent popular protest movements in the Arab world, the need to conduct a comprehensive study of the security of the region from a political, social and economic perspective has become critical. This paper is a preliminary attempt to explore and review contemporary theories of strategic security in the light of current developments in the region. The aim is to produce a systematic analysis that combines theory and practice, leading to conceptualization of a paradigm that can be used to analyze regional and international conflict. The paper sheds light on important studies regarding theories of security in contemporary international relations and considers the main strategic developments and geopolitical transformations in the light of USA military withdrawal from Iraq, the evolution of the Iranian nuclear program and the increasing rise of unrest in the Arab world and the subsequent disruption to reform projects. The paper goes on to analyze security alternatives based on a ‘strategic triangle’ theory and its application to ‘game theory’. The aim is to provide a perspective that can pinpoint factors underlying the constant tension in the region present since the nineteen-seventies.
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October 2017
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