This textbook helps students and readers navigate the various factors ranging from the legacy of the past, ethnic, sectarian differences, and cultural rivalry to the impact of colonial rule, modernization and state building, plus the evolving nature of the international political system and great power policies in shaping Arab-Iranian relations in the last seven decades.
The first part of this book looks into factors such as history, ethnic, sectarian and cultural issues that have shaped Iran’s relations with Arab states. It explores the impact of the process of modernization and state-building in the Arab world on these relations, plus the legacy of colonialism and the shifting dynamics of international politics and the evolution key global players’ policies towards Iran and the Arab states.
The second part examines case studies in the evolution of Iran’s relations with several key Arab states, including Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the smaller Persian Gulf Arab states.
By highlighting the complex set of factors and their interactions that have shaped Arab-Iranian relations, the book hopes to be a corrective to the simplistic and reductionist interpretations of these relations. This approach shows how a variety of factors and their interactions have shaped these relations; sometimes they have exacerbated the conflictual aspects of these relations and at other times have fostered accommodation and even cooperation.
Preface / Introduction / Part I / 1. Historical, Ethnic, Sectarian and Cultural Background to Arab-Iranian Relations / 2. Modernization, the Rise of Nation States and Ethno-Centric Nationalism in Iran and the Arab World: Impact on Arab-Iranian Relations / 3. Intra-Arab Politics: Impact on Arab-Iranian Relations / 4. The Israel Question in Arab-Iranian Relations / 5. The Evolving Character of International Politics and System: Impact on Arab-Iranian Relations / Part II / 6. Iran’s Relations with Egypt: From Hostility to Friendship to Hostility / 7. Iran’s Relations with Iraq: From Hostility to Friendship to What? / 8. Iran’s Relation with Syria and Lebanon / 9. Iran’s Relations with Saudi Arabia: Rivals for Supremacy in the Persian Gulf and Beyond / 10. Iran’s Relations with the Persian Gulf Arab States: Uniformity and Difference / Conclusion / Selected Bibliography
Shireen Hunter is a Research professor at the School of Foreign Service and affiliated with the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.
I have read much over the years about Iran’s complex relations with its Arab neighbours, but none has come close to Dr. Hunter’s insightful new book. Her masterful discussion provides fresh perspectives on the ‘what’ factors which have contextualized interactions, as well as the historical pulses which have shaped perceptions and those which endure to this day to influence policies and behaviour. This is the perfect study for those who want to understand the history of Arab-Iran relations and are eager to appreciate mutual relations today. An outstanding original book.
In this must-read volume, Shireen Hunter, provides a thorough analysis of Iranian-Arab relations. After examining socio-economic and cultural issues and several case studies, Hunter concludes that "there is no inevitability to hostility between the two sides." Dr. Hunter is one of the most prominent scholars of the Middle East in the United States and indeed in the entire world.
Based on years of first-hand experience and research as a diplomat and a scholar, Shireen Hunter has produced a penetrating account of relations between Iran and Arab states. This is a fast-paced book that does not shy away from dealing with difficult questions and offers fresh insights into some of the challenging episodes in Arab-Iran relations. The analysis is presented succinctly with reference to relevant historical, political and cultural context, allowing the reader to appreciate the complexity of many factors at work. Hunter has produced an accessible account of Arab-Iranian relations; a great read for anyone with interest in contemporary Middle East.