Explain the relevance of oil to the regional and international relations of Middle Eastern states. Identify the elements of Luciani’s argument that make oil a determinant factor of regional balance of power and explanatory variable in external powers’ behavior toward the region. Identify and explain the evidence Luciani provides to demonstrate “the compelling link between oil and the consolidation and evolution of the modern state system.” Explain which level of analysis consistent with Lucisani’s argument and which perspective of international relations is most applicable.
2. To ensure a favorable outcome of WWI and to secure its long-term national interest in the Middle East at the end of the war, Great Britain embarked upon a series of conflicting initiatives and agreements that shaped the landscape of the Middle East and simultaneously became fertile grounds for intense and protracted conflicts. List and explain these agreements and examine their impact on the nature and scope of Middle Eastern state boundaries. To what extent these agreements have advanced or impeded the processes of state formation and nation building in the Middle East? Explain whether GB behavior was compelled by structural determinants as the neorealist perspective argues or could GB have, according to the liberal school of thought, behaved differently by overcoming challenges posed by the “prisoner’s dilemma.” Identify at which level of analysis was GB operating, and explain to which school of thoughts Eugene Rogan subscribes.
3. When it comes to the issue of democratization, the Middle East, argues Richard Norton, “is trapped in some ways outside global trends.” Norton detects several challenges and obstacles which explain why the Arab world has been slow to democratize. List those factors and explain their ramifications on the regional and international relations of the Middle East. Explain why the issue of democratization is relevant to the study of international relations of the region. Which perspective argues about the importance of democratization and what evidence does it provide to support its contention?
4. Peter Mandaville asserts that, “Indeed, Islam has often functioned, not in opposition to, but as a form of, national cohesion.” For all of the countries of the modern Middle East, this assertion reflects the ongoing tension between two set of identities which, according to Mandaville, function as explanatory factors to their foreign policy and international affairs: religion (particularly Islam) and nationalism (secular nation state). What is, according to Mandaville, the nature and scope of the relationship between Islam and the secular nation state and what are the ramifications of this relationship on the foreign policies of Saudi Arabia and Iran on the one hand and Egypt and Turkey on the other hand? Outline the evidence that Mandaville provides to support his contention that the identity perspective is the determinant variable of the regional and international relations of the Middle East. Explain the extent to which Mandaville’s contention is more applicable than other schools of thoughts of international relations.
5. Raymond Hinnebusch maintains that the Middle East’s unique features create a complex reality that defies analyses based on any one conceptual approach to international relations. Therefore, he adds, it is imperative to deploy a combination of several perspectives. “Heeding” Hinnebusch’s advice, authors of several chapters of your textbook have analyzed the nature and scope of the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflicts by employing several perspectives: Realism (balance of power, security dilemma), Identity (domestic and regional), and Liberal (institutional and ideological). The authors also relied on different levels of analysis to explain the outcome and analyze the ramifications of several “episodes” (56 and 67 wars; Oslo Accord) in this protracted conflict. In a comparative analysis manner, outline authors’ logic for choosing their respective perspective and level of analysis; examine the strengths and weaknesses of their respective explanation, analysis, and interpretations; and explain their contributions to your understanding of the Middle East’s international relations and these two specific conflicts.