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The International Relations of the Persian Gulf

$34.99 (P)

  • Date Published: December 2009
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521137300
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About the Authors
  • Gregory Gause's masterful book is the first to offer a comprehensive account of the international politics in the Persian Gulf across nearly four decades. The story begins in 1971 when Great Britain ended its protectorate relations with the smaller states of the lower Gulf. It traces developments in the region from the oil 'revolution' of 1973–74 through the Iranian revolution, the Iran-Iraq war and the Gulf war of 1990–91 to the toppling of Saddam Hussein in the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, bringing the story of Gulf regional politics up to 2008. The book highlights transnational identity issues, regime security and the politics of the world oil market, and charts the changing mix of interests and ambitions driving American policy. The author brings his experience as a scholar and commentator on the Gulf to this riveting account of one of the most politically volatile regions on earth.

    • Written by a highly regarded scholar who is a frequent commentator in the US media and has acted as an adviser to the US government as a fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations
    • The chapter on the Iraq war is one of the first academic efforts to investigate the driving forces behind the Bush Administration's decision to go to war
    • Much of the material is based on Arabic sources and regional interviews
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “[Gause’s] organizing theme is the concern of all Persian Gulf states, great and small, for regime security, but he also treat other matters, from the role of oil to transnational issues….[With] his deep knowledge of the region, careful scholarship, and judicious attitude, Gause offers consistently sound interpretations.”
    L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs

    “The most authoritative account to date of the tumultuous events that marked the transition from British to American predominance in the Persian Gulf. Gause’s meticulous reconstruction of regional political interactions illuminates and informs, while gently puncturing a handful of myths that have sprouted during the past half century to explain the many twists and turns of revolution, war and struggles for power in one of the most turbulent regions in the world.”
    Gary Sick, Senior Research Scholar and Director of the Gulf/2000 research project on the Persian Gulf at Columbia University

    “Finally a book on the recent crises of the Middle East that is neither sensationalist nor ideologically driven. Gause instead tries to inform and explain, placing events such as the Iranian revolution and Iraq's various wars in a regional security context. Foreign policy of the Gulf states is more about managing domestic vulnerabilities than rational pursuit of national interests. The reader gets just enough theory to challenge some conventional assumptions, and lots of strong narrative to make sense of the events being discussed. Teachers, students and general readers will welcome this excellent book.”
    William B. Quandt, University of Virginia

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    Customer reviews


    The writer of this review was employed by IBM in the early 1970ies. He continued to work for Atlantic Richfield Company ARCO which is an American oil company with operations in the United States as well as in Indonesia, the North Sea, and the South China Sea. The writer has his own company working as consultant to large energy companies. He spent five years, from 1998-2003 in the Persian Gulf creating dialog and common ground on the highest level with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Peoples Republic of China and Norway on behalf of the three-national consortium mapping the entire seabed of the Gulf on the Iranian side. The project was called Persian Carpet 2000 PC2000 and stretched from north of the Persian Gulf from the sea border with Iraq, all the way to the Oman Sea. At the time it was the worlds largest 2D seismic project. He worked in Teheran and traveled via Abadan, Bandere Imam Khomeini to Hendyjan at the Coast. He continued over land to Busher, and further on to the Iranian Island of Kish, some forty minutes by plane from Dubai. Dubai, with its huge deep water Jebel Ali Port, was also the operational center for this part of the Gulf, though the neighboring state Sharjah also played an important role. The writer stayed on board, for shorter or longer period of time, the three Chinese, two Norwegian and one Iranian vessel, thus monitoring progress of deep water seismic shooting, shallow water seismic shooting and shooting in the Transition Zone One, directly on the beach at Hendyjan. There was top performances of all the seismic vessels, trawling the Iranian waters in a 2Km by 2Km dense grid, North to South and east to West. The project was a huge success with respect to the quality of the seismic data, which, after test processings on board the Chinese mother ship Bin Hai 504, would be further finalized in the CRAY number cruncher at the Imperial College, Royal School of Mines in London were clients would come and view the data as maps on computer screens. The seismic data were then sold to oil companies. They in turn, would need them if they were to drill on the Iranian side of the Persian Gulf after Iran had released new search blocks. The International Relations of the Persian Gulf written by F. Gregory Gause, III is the John H. Lindsey 44 Chair, professor of international affairs and head of the International Affairs Department at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University. His new book will appeal to both laymen as well as scholars. It will appeal to the layman because it is well written and contains a lot of facts and it will be read by scholars because what the book reveals is only ten percent of the huge undisclosed iceberg of knowledge that is needed to create such a brilliant gem of wisdom. Professor Gause takes the reader on a guided tour where he explains the Persian Gulf as a security region he continues to broaden the picture by explaining the emergence of the Gulf regional system from 1971-1978 the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq-Iran war. The reader will get detailed insight into the Gulf War and the following years, the impact of 9/11 and the Iraq War as well as thoughts about the future of the Persian Gulf. Professor Gause sums up his book by explaining American decision making with regards to the Iraq War and concludes with some scratches on the surface about war and alliances in the Persian Gulf. The books title The International Relations of the Persian Gulf seems to reveal that the author has knowingly chosen to emphasize the historic correct labeling of the area. Historically the Gulf is called the Persian Gulf, but as seen from the Arab side of the Gulf today it is always named the Arabian Gulf. A minor detail perhaps, but one that brings together two completely different point of views with regards to this particular geographical and political area. The Gulf, that is all the water from Iraq in the North to the Oman Sea in the South, means different things to different people. Point of view and perspective are two guide-lines when reading this book. Undoubtedly being one of the sharpest written and thematically condensed literary works on the subject today from a writer that I understand has also traveled extensively in the Gulf-area, the reader ought to bear in mind the revealing words of the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, Ali Ibn-Abu-Talib, the fourth Caliph of the Muslims: He who has Thousand Friends has not a Friend to Spare. Ali ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 656AD to 661AD. Anyone can look up in Google and see for himself how wast geographically that friendship based Caliphate was. Am I implying something here? Yes, in fact there has been Empires who on several times in the history have understood more about how to govern the Gulf area than what modern-day politicians has the Ancient Persian Sassanian culture, for instance, which lasted from 224BC till 636AD covered both sides of the Gulf of what is today Oman, United Arabic Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and a portion of Western India. Not to forget the birth of Islam 500AD. Its territory stretched through Egypt, Libya and Algeria to Spain. Although our times are the most technical advanced in the history of mankind, our reasoning can sometimes be questioned was it right to go to war on Iraq on totally falsified premises? Is it right and proper that Iran might very well suffer the same fate? And what country will be next in line? Shouldnt the United States start to make more friends in the region, including Iran, or will war-mongering remain as the highest expression of the Western Culture? The book surprisingly enough does not concern itself with good or bad,right or wrong, moral or immoral, lawful or not lawful. It is nowhere written that an historian cannot have an opinion about these subjects. The U.S. Military operated Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the scandal that followed expose a darker, dehumanizing side within the military system. I therefore view the absence of initiative to address these issues as the books weakest structural point. Many people today are of the opinion that the United States should, instead of criticizing other countries and punish them with sanctions, look into its own, domestic problems first. In 1961 Erich Fromm, the German Jewish social psychologist who lived and worked as a psychologist, philosopher and writer in Mexico and in the United Sates, published May man Prevail? An Inquiry into the Facts and Fictions of Foreign Policy in which he analyzed the Cold War noting that both countries, the United Sates and the Soviet Union, used the same projections to experience the other as an enemy and arguing for an end to this dangerous confrontation. It is in many ways analog to the situation in the Gulf-region of today, and the ongoing escalating confrontation between NATO and Russia over Ukraine. To be quite honest, I had expected from a man the caliber of professor Gregory Gause to have included at least some of the same thoughts in his other-vice excellent book. Also I would have preferred to read a bit more temperament towards the end. The book is well written, no doubt about that, but academically dry and somewhat lifeless. A much stronger emphasis on ethnic values would be desirable, and open up a chapter dedicated to creating dialog and common ground in the area would cap the theme like a roof on a house. A sharper search-light on the international responsibility for would be desirable, and pointing out a call to action to paraphrase President Barack Obamas Nobel lecture in Oslo in 2009. Understandably, there is a limit to how much material the author and the publisher deem relevant to put between two covers. Distinguished professor Gregory Gauses five star book is highly recommendable reading. Four detailed Geographical maps are supportive to the text and three Tables explains the Oil Revenues of the Gulf states, 1969-1978 nominal and real oil prices, 1974-1981 and the result of the Iraqi election of 2005.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521137300
    • length: 265 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 4 maps 3 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Persian Gulf as a security region
    2. The emergence of the Gulf regional system, 1971–1978
    3. The Iranian revolution and the Iran-Iraq war
    4. The Gulf war and the 1990s
    5. 9/11, the Iraq war and the future of the Persian Gulf
    6. The Iraq war: American decision-making
    7. Conclusions: war and alliance in the Persian Gulf.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • 20th Century Middle East History
    • Contemporary World Politics
    • Intenrational Relations of Middle East
    • International Politics of Oil
    • International Relations in the Middle East
    • International Relations of the Middle East
    • Intro to International Relations
    • Iraq and Afghanistan
    • Islam and World Politics
    • Middle East Political Systems
    • Middle East Politics
    • Oil, the Persian Gulf, and World Power
    • Politics of the Arabian Peninsula
    • Regional Politics, Cooperation, and Conflict in the Middle East
    • Strategic Studies and National Security
    • The History of Oil
    • United States Foreign Policy
    • War and Peace in the Middle East
  • Author

    F. Gregory Gause, III, University of Vermont
    F. Gregory Gause, III is Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont. His previous publications include Oil Monarchies: Domestic and Security Challenges in the Arab Gulf States (1994) and Saudi-Yemeni Relations: Domestic Structures and Foreign Influence (1990).

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