The Nature of Alliances in the Middle East: Power or Identity?
The main question of this paper is about the nature of alliances in the Middle East as one of the most important, the most strategic and, of course, the most conflict-ridden regions of the world. In other words, the question is “can the nature of alliances in this region, like similar alliances in the West, be determined on the basis of identity-based solidarity and formation of common and collective identities based on fundamental norms?” And when the nature and reasons behind formation of alliances in this region are discussed, should the role of identity-based factors be downplayed in favor of putting more focus on the role played by power and the balance of power in parallel with the balance of threat? The main hypothesis and argument of this paper is that unlike what Barnett, a theorist of international relations, says that identity and common grounds that arise from identity determine the nature of alliances in the Middle East, the true nature of alliances in this region is rooted in the expediency of governments. As a result, those alliances have been rooted in material conditions and a result of the regional balance of power and the need to deter threats.