The Role of Regional Powers in Shaping the Middle East Security Order (2003 To 2011)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Institute for Technology Studies

2 University of TehranAssociate Professor Regional Studies, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran.


Extended Abstract     
The Middle East has always suffered from the intervention of foreign powers, and these interventions have played an important role in shaping and managing the patterns of security order in this regional security complex. Despite continued foreign intervention, following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, we have witnessed developments in the region that have increased the acting power of regional powers and their decisive role in the political and security equations in the Middle East. For this reason, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 became an important milestone in the security developments in the Middle East, as a result of which, since then, most of the security developments in the region revolve around actors and regional powers.
In this paper, descriptive-analytic research method is used to prove the hypothesis. Data gathering procedure is also based on library methods and the use of Internet resources.
The US invasion of Iraq has had significant implications for the Middle East security order. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the removal of Iraq from the regional balance of power have changed the structure of power distribution, and Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey try to take advantage of the growing power and regional influence. This power competition has made the developments in the region more affected by the actions of these three regional powers. Developments in Lebanon that led to the 33-days war, the expulsion of Syria from Lebanon, the plot and securities of Iran's nuclear program, the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in 2008 were among the most important events in the region. As a trans-regional power, the United States has made every effort to manage this competition and prevent Iran from gaining power. Therefore, we see that in addition to the US actions, the three regional powers of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are among the main pillars of security developments in the Middle East. In this paper, an attempt has been made to evaluate the actions and effects of these regional powers on the security structure of the Middle East in 2003-2011, relying on the three elements of regional structure and role and the orientation of foreign policy.
Structure: In the regional structure section, it should be noted that the structure of the Middle East region was formed from 2003 to 2011 based on the distribution of power between the three main powers of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Role: In evaluating the role of these three powers in 2003 to 2011, we can be said that between 2003 and 2011, Iran simultaneously played all three roles of regional leadership, custodianship, and protection, in line with its definition of the desired security order. Saudi Arabia has also sought to create and lead anti-Iranian regional coalition, while also playing the role of custodianship against Iran's efforts to change the existing security order. Turkey's regional role between 2003 and 2011 can also be interpreted in terms of Turkey's efforts to play a leading role in economic development in the Middle East.
Orientation of Foreign Policy: The Orientation of Iran's Foreign Policy from 2003 to 2011 can be considered an activist orientation, relying on a change in the current situation and based on multilateralism. Saudi Arabia's foreign policy orientation has also shifted to an active regional activist policy to counter Iran's regional influence. It has also been able to create a regional and global consensus, particularly on the Lebanese developments and the security of the nuclear issue, and to act multilaterally against Iran. The direction of Turkey's foreign policy from 2003 to 2011 can also be assessed as an activist policy based on multilateralism and maintaining the status quo, along with accepting calm and lasting change.
As a result of the discussion, it can be said that the US attack on Iraq upset the balance of power in the region and, as a result, disrupted the security order in the Middle East. Influenced by the developments mentioned above, we have witnessed an increase in the role and influence of regional powers in regional security developments.


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