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.
This timely book demystifies the politics of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman, and focuses on the new pressures that have emerged since the Gulf War. Gause illuminates the foreign policy tightrope these states walk in the Middle East: self-defense is problematic, regional pressures translate directly into the domestic arena, and relations with the United States cause as well as solve many problems. Gause examines the interplay of Islamic fundamentalism, tribalism, and, most importantly, oil wealth that has determined the power structure of the Gulf monarchies. He shows what influences really drive politics in the Middle East as well as how U.S. foreign policy must respond to them in order to forge more meaningful ties with each country and preserve the stability of a fragile region that is vital to U.S. interests.
“It is the great achievement of Gregory Gause's study that he charts one of the most contentious aspects of interpeninsula relations and does so with authority and clarity.” From the review of the book by Fred Halliday in the American Political Science Review, June 1991.