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Title: The impact of identity incongruence upon regional security : an analysis of bi-lateral competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia post 1979
Author: Mabon, Simon Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2340 4438
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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Despite the apparent resilience of the state as the primary actor across the Middle East myriad competing identities exist at the state, sub-state and trans- state levels that are often in direct competition with each other. The interaction of these identities can perhaps best be seen in the Gulf region and in particular, in relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, where strong ethno-national and religious identities reside, often engaged in zero-sum competition with each other. Indeed, within both Iran and Saudi Arabia there exists incongruence between national, religious, and ethno-tribal identities. These identities threaten the ideological and territorial integrity of the regimes in question, while also challenging the legitimacy of ruling elites. This thesis considers the impact of this identity incongruence upon the bi-Iateral relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia post 1979, focussing upon competition within ideological and geopolitical spheres. Given the threats to ideological and territorial integrity of the state, identity incongruence can be understood as an internal security dilemma. The thesis argues that attempts to manage internal security dilemmas manifest themsevles inan external security dilemma. The relationship between internal and external security is referred to here as the Incongruence Dilemma. The Incongruence Dilemma builds upon a Classical Realist position, but by giving credence to identity and internal dynamics it challenges several of the assumptions held by Realists. The move from internal security dilemmas to external security dilemmas occurs as ruling elites seek to remove the threat posed by internal security dilemmas by referring to rhetoric and narratives of a nationalist and religious nature. The history of the Persian Gulf contains a record of conquest by both Arab and Persian armies, along with a legacy of intra-Islamic competition, which engendered a shared normative environment. Thus, in attempting to resolve internal security dilemmas through the use of religious and nationalist rhetoric, the state becomes embroiled in an external security dilemma fuelled by ideology. As such, in order to fully understand the bi-Iateral relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia, one must examine the internal dynamics of each state. iv
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available