International Relations in the Middle East (Final Post)

Over the last two weeks, I have researched three different problems in the Middle East, namely the diplomatic crisis in Qatar, the civil war in Yemen, and the Saudi-Iranian rivalry. In Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and some of its Gulf allies, have started an embargo which seeks to influence Qatar’s policies going forward. So far, the embargo has been ineffective and Saudi Arabia has been forced to lower its demands. The civil war in Yemen is a remnant of the Arab spring. The Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, are fighting against the Saudi backed government. The conflict has led to large amounts of civilian casualties. Finally, the Saudi-Iranian rivalry has been a destabilizing force in the region since the Iranian revolution. The conflict has also been partially defined along Sunni-Shiite lines. Next, I examined these problems through International Relations theories.

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International Relations in the Middle East (Post two)

So far during this research process I have worked to examine each of the problems I am studying. For each situation, I have been applying three different International Relations theories. They are Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism. For the most part, each different theory has given a useful perspective on the situation. For example, combining liberalist and realist perspectives on the Qatar diplomatic crises. Both the liberal and realist views tell us that the costs are the factor preventing the confrontation leading to war. While the liberal perspective focuses on the tangential costs created by interdependence, Saudi Arabia has decided that these costs of lost trade are worth it and have imposed the blockade on Qatar. Instead we need to look to the realist costs. Realism looks at the use of the power which Saudi Arabia has amassed in terms of military strength and relationships with other countries.
Meanwhile, Realism struggles to explain the list of demands that Saudi Arabia gave Qatar. Instead of demands purely based on security, as Realism would predict, there were several demands that involved political dissidents from Saudi Arabia and its allies and the news organization Al Jazeera. By looking at both theories I have been able to get a more complete picture of each different situation.
Unfortunately, when I tried to apply Liberalism to the civil war in Yemen, I found it to be less than helpful. It seems that Saudi Arabia decided the costs of lost trade were worth bearing. International organizations, which matter according to liberalism, did not seem to achieve their function. Instead of condemning the human rights abuses of which some have accused the Saudis, the UN removed Saudi Arabia from a list of human rights violators after the Saudis applied pressure (Oakford et al. 2016). Liberalism may not be very useful in my efforts to find solutions for this problem.
Over the last few days of my project, I need to finish up my last couple parts of the analysis of constructivism and start on proposing my solutions.

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International Relations in the Middle East (Post One)

International relations in the Middle East have garnered attention from foreign policy experts and diplomats.  Many different opinions exist about what the United States should do.  I want to examine these problems in the Middle East through the lenses of International Relations theory.   To start my project, I needed to narrow down the large number of international problems in the Middle East.  If I tried to tackle every issue, I would need several lifetimes.  Instead, I have decided to consider three different issues and examine them using major international relations theories.  I decided that I will focus my research on the Qatar diplomatic crisis, the civil war in Yemen and the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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Application of International Relations Theory to the Modern Middle East

The modern Middle East has been a problem for the United States foreign policy establishment for several decades, especially following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.  In recent years there seem to be more issues have arisen with the Arab spring and added instability in the region.  Over the summer I will apply International Relations Theory to the Modern Middle East.  First I will determine what the most important four or five problems in the Middle East from the perspective of the United States by examining news and scholarly articles.  Next I will study the background for each of situation and look into which strategies had already been tried.  After studying the problem I will look at what different International Relations theories would recommend in each different situation.