GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The role of regional factors in shaping the arms trade in Arabian Gulf countries: The cases of Iran and Arab Spring.
Paper Proposal Text :
The role of regional factors in shaping the arms trade in Arabian Gulf countries: The cases of Iran and Arab Spring.

I am examining the regional factors that shape the Arabian Gulf countries and their military arming policies. I argue that there are two factors that shape the arms trade policies for Arabian Gulf countries. The first factor is the continuously growing threat of Iran in the region. The second factor, more currently, is the Arab Spring and how that influences arms trade policies for Arabian Gulf countries.

It is clear in the literature on the political history of Iran that that country has always had ambitions to be the hegemon on the region. Moreover, Iran historically has always exhibited a desire control the rest of Gulf Region. That explains historical disputes with Iran’s neighbors, such as in the case of the United Arab Emirates. Recently, we have been witnessing Iran’s growing influence in the region. Recently, there are speculations about the Iranian influence on Yemen. One may argue that the Hoothieen control of the Yemen was supported with Iranian power. Moreover, there Iraq has had its own troubles with Iran. Iran defended its presence in Iraq by arguing that it was for the protection of holy places. Iran even has a role in supporting the Shit‘te in Bahrain. That is to say, this increasing and noticeable influence of Iran increases the threats to and the concerns of the Arabian Gulf countries, ultimately having a drastic impact on the arms trade policies.

The second regional factor that I am examining is the spread of the Arab Spring. The sweeping Arab Spring has collapsed regimes in most of Middle Eastern countries such as Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and so forth. In the political uprising, the regimes overthrown caused the Arabian Gulf countries drastic concern over the contagious effects of the Arab Spring, whether within the domestic politics or with the regional borders. This is another incentive for the Arabian Gulf countries to bolster their arms trade policies to secure there own borders.

I argue that the historical concerns regarding Iranian ambition to be the regional hegemon coupled with the Arab Spring movement influence the Arab Gulf countries arms trade policies.