[R5823] International Relations of the Middle East: A Decade after the Arab Uprisings
Created by May Darwich
Friday, 10/16/20 01:30 pm
SUMMARY:The dynamics of regional politics of the Middle East are being reshaped from above and below. The seeming US "retreat" from regional hegemony has coincided with expanded interventions (by the US and others), regional powers contesting for influence, and the rise of non-state actors. Together these have generated new patterns of insecurity. How have the fields of international relations and the study of Middle East politics sought to understand these new dynamics? The hopes for a reshaping of regional order following the Arab uprisings were quickly dashed the outbreak of civil wars in Syria and Libya; military interventions in Bahrain and Yemen, and the rise of the Islamic State. These events have disrupted regional geopolitics and altered the position of the Middle East in the international system. This roundtable contributes to efforts to rethink the international relations of the Middle East and the prospects for regional order in wake of the Arab Uprisings and the subsequent "New Arab Wars." We consider how patterns of regional politics exhibit both continuities and changes. This roundtable has two overarching aims: (1) to examine the emergence of new issues and the persistence of old ones, and (2) to unravel how these patterns have challenged or validated the existing scholarship in both international relations and the politics of the Middle East while pointing to avenues for future research in both fields.
The roundtable will address five areas of new research and theoretical innovation. First, we examine the relationship between Middle East regional politics and the global level politics defined by shifts in the US strategy toward the Middle East (sometime viewed as "retreat") and the emergence of multipolarity. Second, we investigate the new, ongoing conflicts and their implications for the regional state system. Third, we focus on how the proliferation of proxy actors and conflicts and the rise of armed non-state actors suggests the need for the development of new conceptual and theoretical tools. Fourth, we consider how new alliance patterns in the region can be understood within existing theories as well as beg questions that might help frame the development of new theories. Finally, we examine the innovations within the field of the IR of the Middle East from a metatheoretical perspective unravelling the disconnect between the scholarship of those focused on Middle East politics and those developing new theories of international relations while suggesting avenues for future dialogue.