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Evolving Narratives of Political Contestation and Geopolitical Rivalry in the Persian Gulf

  • Kristian Coates UlrichsenEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the Perspectives on Development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region book series (PDMENA)

Abstract

This chapter examines the interplay of hegemonic competition in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran alongside the intra-Arab Gulf crises that have erupted since 2011. Regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia and Iran acquired a potent geopolitical dimension following the fall of the Shah in 1979. Whereas Iranian foreign policies moderated after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, the narratives framed during the 1980s were hard to dislodge, even during the thaw in cross-waterway relations that occurred in the 1990s. The legacy of years of mutual mistrust became clear after the spread of the Arab uprisings in 2011. Both the Arab Gulf States’ responses to the so-called Arab Spring and the bitter disputes between the trio opposing Qatar illustrate how political narratives continue to polarise the Persian Gulf, albeit in subtly different ways.

Keywords

Persian Gulf Iran GCC Geopolitics Narratives 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public PolicyHoustonUSA

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