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International Relations of the Middle East


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




This course examines the key theoretical frameworks for understanding the international relations of the contemporaneous Middle East. The goal throughout is to offer a systematic study of the actors, structures and dynamics important to comprehend the international political reality of this region. The course is divided into three main parts. It starts with an overview on how International Relations Theories have approached the study of international politics of the Middle East. Besides analyzing all major theories’ contributions to the study of the international relations of the region, the course concentrates on the emergence, evolution and current features of the regional order, as well as the sub-regional orders of the Maghreb and the Gulf. With this as a background, the second part examines the foreign policy decision-making processes of the five regional powers, namely Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. It approaches its study through different case-studies also tackling critical issues for the region as a whole (the importance of oil, religion and cooperation and conflicts). Finally, the last part of the course focuses on the role of external actors in shaping the regional system and its dynamics –mainly, China, the United States and the European Union.


The evaluation of the class will combine two different elements.

  • First, a series of five one-hour seminars requiring oral and written tasks (50% of the final grade)
  • Second, a final take-home exam (50% of the final grade). It will be handed to the Student in the last session of the class and they will have 48 hours to send their answers to the professor.

Competences, learning outcomes and teaching activities (PDF)


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