Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East

The Middle East is experiencing growing tensions as a result of competing geopolitical agendas and reciprocal meddling in the internal affairs of states. This volume – the outcome of a joint FEPS–IAI project – examines various means to foster de-escalation, dialogue and confidence-building in the Middle East. It does so by mapping the viewpoints, interests and threat perceptions of key regional and international actors in the region. Individual country case studies, written by leading scholars from the US, Russia, China, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Europe, are coupled with a final chapter analysing the results of an expert survey addressing modalities through which regional and international actors may support efforts to de-escalate tensions and assist the region in developing new, home-grown mechanisms for dialogue and regional cooperation.

Volume produced in the framework of the FEPS-IAI project “Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East”.

Brussels, Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and Rome, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), November 2020, 310 p.
Publication date: 

Foreword / László Andor and Nathalie Tocci, p. 7-9

1. The Middle East’s Evolving Security Landscape: Prospects for Regional Cooperation and US Engagement / Daniel Kurtzer, p. 11-36
1. US interests and policy
2. Security mechanisms in the Gulf
3. Security cooperation in the MENA region: Historical context (1945–1980)
4. GCC security cooperation (1981–present)
5. US, Russian and Iranian security cooperation proposals, 2017–2019
5.1 US Middle East Strategic Alliance (2017–present)
5.2 Russia’s Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf area
5.3 Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavour
6. Conclusion: Is there a way forward?

2. Russia’s Foreign and Security Policy in the Middle East: Entering the 2020s / Ekaterina Stepanova, p. 37-65
1. Russia’s balancing act in Syria
2. Libya: Does the Astana model apply?
3. Israel–Palestine: The peace process is dead, what role for Russia?
4. In lieu of conclusion: Russia’s Gulf security initiatives and the 2020 US–Iran crisis

3. China and Middle East Security Issues: Challenges, Perceptions and Positions / Jin Liangxiang, p. 67-89
1. The Middle East’s worsening security environment
1.1 Tensions caused by external actors
1.2 Instability due to economic factors
1.3 Tensions due to regional competition
2. Challenges to China
3. China’s role in regional security
4. Framework proposals for Gulf security: A Chinese view
5. Conclusion

4. The New Turn in Turkey’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East: Regional and Domestic Insecurities / Meliha Benli Altunısik, p. 91-113
1. Turkey’s perceptions of its evolving neighbourhood
1.1 Increasing threat perceptions and securitisation
1.2 Zero-sum regional competition
1.3 Increasing use of military power
1.4 Turkey’s newfound unilateralism: The search for autonomy and balancing efforts with major powers
2. Turkey’s new foreign policy doctrine
3. The Iran-Saudi rivalry and Gulf security: A view from Turkey
4. Conclusion

5. Structural Shifts and Regional Security: A View from Israel / Ehud Eiran, p. 115-138
1. Introduction: Israel’s traditional security maxims
2. Israel in a changing regional reality: immediate threats and responses
2.1 Traditional threats are gone
2.2 Current threats and responses: Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinians
3. Israel and major structural regional security issues
3.1 American retrenchment
3.2 Enter Russia
3.3 The Sunni–Shia competition
3.4 Energy: Israel and the Hellenic alliance
4. Conclusion

6. The Evolving Security Landscape Around the Arabian Peninsula: A Saudi Perspective / Abdullah K. Al-Saud and Joseph A. Kéchichian, p. 139-166
1. Saudi relations with leading global powers
2. Adjusting to a new regional landscape
3. Regional security: Increased burdens for increased threats
4. Gulf security: Russian, US and Iranian proposals
5. Conclusion

7. HOPE for a New Regional Security Architecture: Toward a Hormuz Community / Saeed Khatibzadeh, p. 167-199
1. Understanding the challenges: Iran’s perception of the root cause of regional insecurity
2. Iran’s foreign policy: From idea to practice
2.1 Iran’s foreign policy under President Rouhani: From JCPOA to HOPE
3. Iran and major powers relations in the region: The US and Russia
3.1 Trump and Iran: From maximum pressure to maximum failure
3.2 Russia: A rising power in the Middle East
4. Iran’s neighbourhood policy: HOPE for a strong region
5. Conclusion

8. The UAE’s Security Perceptions in the Middle East: Regional Challenges, Alliances and the Diversification of Partners / Khalid Almezaini, p. 201-221
1. The security threats to the UAE: Real but not existential
2. The JCPOA and implications for regional security: A view from the Emirates
3. The UAE in the post-JCPOA context: Strategic hedging
4. Conclusion

9. Collective Security and Multilateral Engagement in the Middle East: What Role for the EU? / Silvia Colombo and Andrea Dessì, p. 223-247
1. Regional challenges: Socio-economic turmoil and geopolitical ruptures
2. EU cohesion and coherence: The challenge of (re)building consensus on interests and instruments
3. Stepping back from the brink: EU pathways for dialogue, de-escalation and confidence building in the Middle East
4. Conclusion

10. Countering Zero-Sum Relations in the Middle East: Insights from the Expert Survey / Flavia Fusco, p. 249-299
1. Framing instability: A multidimensional concept entangled in a zero-sum logic
2. Collective security in the Middle East: Can the past inform the present?
3. Future priorities: De-escalation, confidence-building measures and reconciliation
4. Conclusion: The way(s) forward

Abbreviations and acronyms, p. 301-302
Contributors, p. 303-310

Research area