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The International Relations of the Persian Gulf


  • 4 maps 3 tables
  • Page extent: 272 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.43 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521137300)

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The International Relations of the Persian Gulf
Cambridge University Press
9780521190237 - The International Relations of the Persian Gulf - By F. Gregory Gause, III

The International Relations of the Persian Gulf

Gregory Gause’s masterful book is the first to offer a comprehensive, narrative account of the international politics in the Persian Gulf across nearly four decades. The story begins in 1971 when 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 the end of 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 considerable experience as a scholar and commentator on the Gulf to this riveting account of one of the most politically volatile regions on earth.

F. Gregory Gause, III, is Professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont. During 2009–10 he is the Kuwait Foundation Visiting Professor of International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 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).

The International Relations of the Persian Gulf

F. Gregory Gause, III

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© F. Gregory Gause, III, 2010

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2010

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-521-19023-7 hardback
ISBN 978-0-521-13730-0 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

For Gregory and Emma, who have waited too long


List of maps and tables
Note on the text and bibliography
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

Maps and tables


1     The Persian Gulf and the broader Middle East
2     Iran–Iraq frontier
3     The Iraq–Kuwait border
4     Iraq’s provinces and major cities


1     Oil revenues of the Gulf states, 1969–1978
2     Nominal and real oil prices, 1974–1981
3     Results of Iraqi elections of 2005


It is a pleasure to thank those who helped me as I was writing this book. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the late Arthur Ross and the Arthur Ross Foundation. Mr. Ross financially supported an earlier project of mine at the Council on Foreign Relations which turned into the book Oil Monarchies. When I had a sabbatical in the 2001–02 academic year to work on the present book, I turned to Mr. Ross again for support. He very graciously agreed to give me another grant to supplement my sabbatical salary. He was even more gracious when the events of 2001 postponed the completion of what I had thought would be a much shorter book. I also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Columbia University, where I taught from 1987 to 1995, and the University of Vermont, where I have been on the faculty ever since. I received sabbaticals, leaves and travel grants from both institutions during which I worked on various aspects of this book.

I have been at this project since the end of the 1980s, when I thought it might be interesting to examine the Iran–Iraq War and the effects of the Iranian Revolution on the international politics of the Persian Gulf region. That was two wars ago, and events have conspired to extend this research much longer than I had originally intended. In those two decades I incurred a number of personal debts. I want to thank the people of the region – Iranians, Saudis, Iraqis, Kuwaitis, Omanis, Jordanians, Egyptians, Syrians, Bahrainis, Qataris and Emiratis – who received me on my research trips to their countries and in their diplomatic offices on my trips to Washington and New York. They educated me about their region. Many of them became friends. They are too numerous to mention here, but I am grateful to them all.

I began the project when I was a member of the political science department at Columbia University. My years there were like a second graduate education, during which I had the opportunity to learn from leading scholars in the fields of international relations, comparative politics and Middle East studies. My Columbia colleagues know how much I appreciate them. I did much of the research and most of the writing for this book during my time in the political science department of the University of Vermont. My Vermont colleagues are marvelous – smart, collegial, funny. I presented various parts of the book to them at faculty seminars and benefited from their comments. They make coming to work fun. I value both my professional relationships and my personal friendships with them.

I owe a debt of thanks to colleagues who read parts of the manuscript as I was writing it. Special thanks to Arang Keshavarzian of New York University, who read the whole manuscript and provided very useful comments. Robert Jervis, the dean of American international relations scholars and my Columbia colleague, read the chapter on the Iraq War with a careful eye and made numerous helpful suggestions. Mark Gasiorowski of Louisiana State University, Michael Barnett of the University of Minnesota, Fred Lawson of Mills College and Robert Kaufman of Pepperdine University read parts of the manuscript along the way at various times. My thanks to them all. I also thank the two anonymous reviewers at Cambridge University Press for their useful comments.

Particular thanks go to my editor at Cambridge University Press, Marigold Acland. Marigold was always interested in the project, even as new wars added to its length and to the amount of time it took to finish it. She always asked me about it when we ran into each other and encouraged me to keep at it. Her assistant at the Press, Sarah Green, has been very helpful in shepherding the manuscript to publication.

My wife Cindy has been with me on this project from the beginning. We got married during the Iran–Iraq War, had our first child just one month before Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, moved to Vermont during the “dual containment” period in American policy toward the Gulf and had our twentieth wedding anniversary when sectarian violence in Iraq was heating up. Needless to say, she uses different milestones to chart the history of our relationship. She has a bemused toleration for my fascination with the Middle East and an unwavering commitment to us as a family. I would be bereft without her. Both of my children were born during this project. Gregory is now in college and Emma is in high school, which is some indication of how long I have been at this. They have never known me when I wasn’t working on “the book.” I hope that they are ready for the change. They have waited a long time, so the book is dedicated to them.

© Cambridge University Press
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