851-0535-09L  Regional Politics of the Arabian Peninsula

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersE. Manea
Periodicitynon-recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractThe course explores the complex nature of politics and history of the Arabian Peninsula. It takes a closer look at the political systems of several countries of the Arabian Peninsula, especially Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Oman and Bahrain.
ObjectiveTo highlight how the politics of the Arabian Peninsula is a product of two spheres: politics within states and politics between states.

Introduce the Arabian Peninsula as a political unit, but not a homogeneous one

An overview of the type of political systems prevalent in the region,
religious Denominations, sectarian rivalry, and how this shape its regional relations
ContentThe neighbouring states of the Arabian Peninsula - especially Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen - make for strange bedfellows. They are governed by different systems with different results, calling into question how their internal policies affect regional relations and vice versa. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, a prosperous, religious and restrictive state increasingly facing problems of social/politica unrest. Oman is a small, thriving, stable sultanate, modernised and moderate but tightly controlled; and the republic of Yemen, which has the region's poorest economy, has still not shrugged off the legacy of its turbulent modern history. Each state adheres to a different Islamic sect, moreover, and though their populations are overwhelmingly Arab, differing tribal structures result in widely variant effects on the political process in their respective systems. Each state has also had extensive historical relationships with the Ottoman and British empires, the US and Russia, and these too have coloured regional relations. Recent events like the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the American-led invasion of Iraq and the Arab uprisings of 2011 have also influenced these states' internal policy decisions, further affecting their dealings with one another and at with the world at large. This course examines each country in detail, from state formation to current affairs and from local to international government.