published in MER155

Decline and Fall

NATO Goes to the Persian Gulf

by Jochen Hippler
published in MER155

In the last half of 1987, some 75 US, French, British, Italian, Belgian and Dutch warships steamed into the Persian Gulf in what became the largest peacetime naval operation since World War II. Six NATO countries had joined efforts specifically to police the Gulf, considerably increasing the longstanding but small Western naval presence there. The West German navy helped out by substituting for Belgian and US warships which usually patrol the English Channel and the Mediterranean.

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Saudi Arabia and the Reagan Doctrine

by Jonathan Marshall
published in MER155

President Reagan came to office with a bold commitment to roll back Soviet gains in the Third World without risking the trauma or cost of another Vietnam-style intervention. The “Reagan Doctrine,” as his policy came to be known, ironically took its cue from Soviet support in the 1970s for leftist insurgencies in Africa and Central America. But the beneficiaries of the Reagan Doctrine were anti-communist resistance and counterrevolutionary insurgencies in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia and Nicaragua.

Iran and the Gulf Arabs

by MERIP's Special Correspondent in Iran
published in MER156

Within weeks of Iran’s surprise acceptance of a ceasefire in its war with Iraq last July, perceptions of the regime in Tehran on the Arab side of the Gulf underwent a radical transformation. Governments in Kuwait, Riyadh and Bahrain pledged to forget past clashes, restore full diplomatic ties and launch a new era of political cooperation. Dollar signs danced in traders’ eyes as they saw a revival of a once booming reexport business with ports on the Persian coast.

From the Editor

by The Editors
published in MER264

“In the last decade,” wrote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the November 2011 Foreign Policy, “our foreign policy has transitioned from dealing with the post-Cold War peace dividend to demanding commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. As those wars wind down, we will need to accelerate efforts to pivot to new global realities” -- namely, the growing strategic importance of Asia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Embracing Crisis in the Gulf

by Toby Jones
published in MER264

All claims to the contrary, the Persian Gulf monarchies have been deeply affected by the Arab revolutionary ferment of 2011-2012. Bahrain may be the only country to experience its own sustained upheaval, but the impact has also been felt elsewhere. Demands for a more participatory politics are on the rise, as are calls for the protection of rights and formations of various types of civic and political organization. Although these demands are not new, they are louder than before, including where the price of dissent is highest in Saudi Arabia, Oman and even the usually hushed United Arab Emirates. The resilience of a broad range of activists in denouncing autocracy and discomfiting autocrats is inspirational.

Gulf Juggernaut

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER263

Adam Hanieh, Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Continuity and Change in Soviet Policy

The Gulf Crisis and the Islamic Dimension

by Alain Gresh
published in MER167

The day after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and US Secretary of State James Baker announced what they termed “an unusual step.” They issued a communique “jointly urging the international community to join them and suspend all supplies of arms to Iraq on an international scale.” The Gulf crisis, the first major post-Cold War international crisis, provides a concrete measure of changing Soviet strategy in the Third World. While Soviet policy can be explained in large part by a desire to maintain good relations with the United States, one cannot disregard, in the short or the long run, the weight of Moscow’s relations with the Middle East and how they affect its strategy and tactics in the region.

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The US in the Persian Gulf

From Rapid Deployment to Massive Deployment

by Joe Stork , Martha Wenger
published in MER168

The scale of the US military deployment in the Persian Gulf -- half of all US combat forces worldwide -- is something of a shock, even to the Pentagon. “Nobody ever thought they’d be free to commit all those forces,” one military official said.

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