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International Relations of the Middle East in the 21st Century

10 hour course by Katerina Dalacoura (LSE)

  • Schedule: 4-8 July (9:00-11:00). Venue: IBEI
  • Format: Hybrid

This course offers an introduction to contemporary Middle Eastern international relations from a foreign policy analysis perspective. It begins with a brief historical outline which concentrates on three turning points: the interwar period of the 1920s—1930s which witnessed the genesis of the modern states system; the Cold War period; and the post-Cold War moment of unilateral US power in the 1990s. The course then focuses on four major regional powers, Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the ways in which they have shaped the region in the two decades since the turn of the 21st century and the 9/11 attacks. Each of the four is studied through the prism of a foreign policy analysis theme: in the case of Turkey, geopolitics versus identity; in the case of Iran, ideology versus pragmatism; in the case of Egypt, security versus economic drivers; and in the case of Saudi Arabia, foreign policy means and ends. Students in this course will emerge with a better grasp of what drives individual states and of the underpinnings of the regional balances of power and ideological factors that shape their relationships; they will also acquire an understanding of some theoretical issues in foreign policy, which are also applicable beyond the Middle Eastern region.