The Changing Security Dynamics of the Persian Gulf

Edited by Part of the Georgetown University, Center for International and Regional Studies, School of Foreign Service in Qatar series
November 2017 9781849048422 360pp


The contradictory trends of the ‘post-Arab Spring’ landscape form both the backdrop to, and the focus of, this volume on the changing security dynamics of the Persian Gulf, defined as the six GCC states plus Iraq and Iran. The political and economic upheaval triggered by the uprisings of 2011, and the rapid emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in 2014, have underscored the vulnerability of regional states to an intersection of domestic pressures and external shocks. The initial phase of the uprisings has given way to a series of messy and uncertain transitions that have left societies deeply fractured and ignited violence both within and across states. The bulk of the protests, with the notable exception of Bahrain, occurred outside the Gulf region, but Persian Gulf states were at the forefront of the political, economic, and security response across the Middle East.

This volume provides a timely and comparative study of how security in the Persian Gulf has evolved and adapted to the growing uncertainty of the post-2011 regional landscape.

Table of contents

1. Introduction
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

2. Links between Domestic and Regional Security
Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

3. Renting the Casbah: Gulf States’ Foreign Policy towards North Africa since the Arab Uprisings
Toby Matthiesen

4. The Emerging Energy Landscape: Economic and Strategic Implications
Gawdat Bahgat

5. Towards the End of the Oligarchic Pact? Business and Politics in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Oman
Marc Valeri

6. India: A Rising Power in the Persian Gulf?
Dionysis Markakis

7. The Rise of ISIS: Iraq and Persian Gulf Security
Nussaibah Younis

8. A Regional Great Game? Iran–Saudi Relations in Flux
Nader Entessar

9. The Politics of Succession in Saudi Arabia: A Struggle for Primogeniture
Joseph Kéchichian

10. Youth, Protest and the New Elite: Domestic Security and Dignity in Kuwait
Alanoud Alsharekh

11. The Transformation of UAE Foreign Policy since 2011
Khalid Almezaini


‘Ulrichsen combines some rich academic chapters in this book where the pros and cons of the GCC countries’ internal and external security issues are discussed.’ — Insight Turkey

This volume on the Persian Gulf offers an exceptionally rich set of analytical papers focusing on the internal and external security drivers of policy in key Gulf states, and enriches the analysis by also shedding light on the forces which are shaping relations between these states as well. An excellent addition to the growing body of knowledge on this strategically-important sub-region.’ — Anoush Ehteshami, Professor of International Relations at Durham University and author of Dynamics of Change in the Persian Gulf

‘Ulrichsen is one of the most perceptive and prolific analysts of the Persian Gulf, and here he assembles an all-star list of contributors to examine the changes and intersections of domestic and international politics and regional security structures. Following a masterful introduction by the editor, chapters treat little-understood topics such as the policy of the GCC states toward ISIS, North Africa and India, and Iran-Saudi relations. Also explored are attempts by the Gulf states to reformulate the “ruling bargain” that until now has ensured domestic tranquility, the global energy landscape, the increasing economic role of Gulf royals, youth protests in Kuwait, and the Saudi succession. These essays could not be more timely.’ — Lawrence G. Potter, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University


Kristian Coates Ulrichsen is Fellow for the Middle East at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, and an associate fellow of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. His books with Hurst include Qatar and the Gulf Crisis and Centers of Power in the Arab Gulf States. He supports West Ham.

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