Foreign Policy in West Asia: With Emphasis on Contemporary Iraq-Saudi Relations

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Authors: Mohammad Sadeq Koushki & Javad Mohammadi

Khorsandi Press, Tehran, 2015
Language: Persian
Number of the Pages: 152

Book Description

Foreign Policy in West Asia” has five sections entitled “Theoretical Framework,” “Review of Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq (1920-2003),” “Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Policy toward Iraqi Governments from 2003 to 2012,” “Methods Used by Saudi Arabia to Influence Iraq (2003-2012),” and “Saudi Foreign Policy Goals in Post-Saddam Iraq.” The authors of “Foreign Policy in West Asia” have tried to use the theoretical framework of balance of powers to discuss Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy toward the new Iraq.

A part of the book on the “Concerns about Declining Position of Saudi Arabia in Regional Diplomacy and US Energy Supply,” reads as follows:

A major concern for Saudi Arabia during and after the US attack on Iraq was that Iraq might replace Saudi Arabia as a US ally in Washington’s regional plans. Of course, this concern has greatly reduced after the approach taken by the Iraqi nation to elections and the composition of the incumbent government became clear. The Iraqi government has shown that its policy is not oriented toward the US plans in the region, especially with regard to Iran, Syria and Bahrain. During last year’s visit to the United States by the then Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi official clearly opposed the United States’ views on Syria. However, the primary concern that Saudi Arabia had about Iraq, has made Riyadh oppose further strengthening of the Iraqi government.

The author of Foreign Policy in West Asia has used Saudi and American sources and documents to discuss the role played by Saudi Arabia and rulers in Riyadh in fomenting instability in Iraq. The authors believe that the book is just a first step toward a more profound study of foreign policy in West Asia. They are planning, as a second step, to review Turkey’s contemporary relations during the past 10 years in addition to role of the political parties in this country as a major player in West Asia. They say the present book has discussed the remarks made by Saudi and American officials while taking advantage of the viewpoints of American and Saudi think tanks about the causes of instability in Iraq. Koushki, who is a political analyst, says, “The main slant of this book conforms to the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the policies of the Islamic Revolution and the author has tried to remain neutral throughout the book.” Explaining on the term “West Asia,” used in this book, he says, “When we say West Asia, it means that we have not been limited by European viewpoints because since many years ago, Europeans have looked at this region from their own viewpoint, using the name of the Middle East for it.”

Book Review

Ahmad Naderi, director of Anthropology Department at University of Tehran’s Faculty of Social Science, has also opined that one of the prominent characteristics of Foreign Policy in West Asia is in-depth study of contemporary relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. A lot of effort has been made to coin new words and introduce new concepts in this book, he said, adding that the term “West Asia” was used to reflect an Iranian viewpoint different from the term “Middle East” which is the dominant name used for this region by Western and European researchers.

Naderi said, “Since the 18th century, Europeans saw themselves as the center of the world and tried to name our region ‘the Middle East’ on the basis of the same viewpoint.”
He noted that the second positive characteristic of the book is that it contains up-to-ate material and sources.

“Taking advantage of updated Arabic and English sources is desirable for academic audience as well as experts in regional studies,” he added.

Naderi stated that the third feature of this book is the author’s respect for principles of science and research.

“The author, as a researcher, has tried to avoid passing ideological judgment, while doing his best when studying events, to remain impartial.”

This faculty member of University of Tehran stated that the book can be a good fundament to be used by researchers for specialist studies on West Asia. It can be also beneficial to researchers of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

About the Author

Mohammad Sadeq Koushki is faculty member of University of Tehran’s Faculty of Law and Political Science, who has written a lot on political science and foreign policy. Koushki is the author of Islam and Urban Development, Identity and Model: Reflections on Identity of Modern Iran and Islamic-Indigenous Model of Civilization Building, Lifestyle of the Islamic Revolution, Creating Revolutionary Cadres with Emphasis on Imam’s and Leader’s Thoughts, Fundaments of Quranic Politics, A Leaf from the Garden, Reflections on the Political Thought of Imam Khomeini (in Persian and Arabic) , and Roots of Terrorism.

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