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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
January 2021
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Book description

Developing an original theoretical approach to understanding the roots of regional conflict and cooperation, International Relations in the Middle East explores domestic and international foreign policy dynamics for an accessible insight into how and why Middle Eastern regional order has changed over time. Highlighting interactions between foreign policy trajectories in a range of states including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, Ewan Stein identifies two main drivers of foreign policy and alignments: competitive support-seeking and ideological externalisation. Clearly linking political, ideological and foreign policy dynamics, Stein demonstrates how the sources of regional antagonisms and solidarities are to be found not in the geopolitical chessboard, but in the hegemonic strategies of the region's pivotal powers. Making the case for historical sociology - in particular the work of Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser - as the most powerful lens through which to understand regional politics in the Middle East, with wider implications for the study of regional order elsewhere.


‘Ewan Stein has delivered a sophisticated and innovative rethinking of the international relations of the Middle East. By highlighting the domestic benefits of ideological ambition abroad and the importance of securing external patrons, Stein offers a new reading of regional international history which challenges prevailing theories and opens up new vistas for constructivist theories of regional politics.’

Marc Lynch - The George Washington University

'Ewan Stein has produced a deeply ambitious text that works as both an introduction to the international relations of the Middle East, and as a valuable contribution to a set of enduring debates about how to understand the regional order. By framing the international politics of the Middle East in terms of competition for external support and ideological positioning, Stein provides an original and compelling account of how to understand how the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the War on Terror, the Arab Uprisings and regional armed conflict - one that must be taken seriously by anyone interested in global politics today.’

Dr Glen Rangwala - University of Cambridge

‘an innovative perspective from which to reexamine the international relations of the Middle East.’

Chaoqun Lian Source: China International Strategy Review

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