Shocks and Rivalries in the Middle East and North Africa

Imad Mansour and William R. Thompson, Editors

The first in-depth, multicase analysis of interstate rivalries and shock events in the MENA region with significant findings for the study of global politics.
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Shocks and Rivalries in the Middle East and North Africa is the first book to examine issue-driven antagonisms within groups of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) states and their impact on relations within the region. The volume also considers how shock events, such as internal revolts and regional wars, can alter interstate tensions and the trajectory of conflict.

MENA has experienced more internal rivalries than any other region, making a detailed analysis vital to understanding the region’s complex political, cultural, and economic history. The state groupings studied in this volume include Israel and Iran; Iran and Saudi Arabia; Iran and Turkey; Iran, Iraq, and Syria; Egypt and Saudi Arabia; and Algeria and Morocco. Essays are theoretically driven, breaking the MENA region down into a collection of systems that exemplify how state and nonstate actors interact around certain issues. Through this approach, contributors shed rare light on the origins, persistence, escalation, and resolution of MENA rivalries and trace significant patterns of regional change.

Shocks and Rivalries in the Middle East and North Africa makes a major contribution to scholarship on MENA antagonisms. It not only addresses an understudied phenomenon in the international relations of the MENA region, it also expands our knowledge of rivalry dynamics in global politics.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: A Theory of Shock and Rivalry
Imad Mansour and William R. Thompson

2. Crucial Fault Lines in the Middle East: Interstate Rivalries in Comparative Perspective
Thomas J. Volgy, Kelly Marie Gordell, and Paul Bezerra

3. Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall? Making Sense of Longer-Term Ups and Downs in Middle Eastern and North African Rivalries
William R. Thompson

4. The Saudi-Iran Strategic Rivalry: “Like Fire and Dynamite”
John Calabrese

5. Rethinking Rivalry Fluctuation: Iranian Rivalry Behavior and the Domestic Level of Analysis
Thomas Keith Wilson

6. Iran-Iraq-Syria: Shocks and Rivalries in a Triadic Pattern
Marwan Kabalan

7. Iran-Turkey Relations: Between Rivalry and Competition
Meliha Benli Altunışık

8. Dangerous Entanglements: The Rivalry Effects of the Iran and Israel Narratives
Imad Mansour

9. Revolution and Rivalry Onset: The Emergence of the Egyptian-Saudi (1955–70) and Iranian-Saudi (1979–2018) Rivalries
Karen Rasler

10. The Algerian-Moroccan Rivalry: Constructing the Imagined Enemy
Yahia H. Zoubir

11. Conclusion: Assessing Shocks and Rivalry Processes in the Middle East and North Africa
Imad Mansour and William R. Thompson

List of Contributors


"A strong combination of theory and detailed case studies that deepens our understanding of shocks and rivalries in a region that we too often assume that we know more [about] than we do."—Paul F. Diehl, Ashbel Smith Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Dallas

"In the MENA conflict-laden region, zooming in on inter-state rivalries is indeed required and welcome. Successfully marrying in-depth regional knowledge and comparative disciplinary rigor, this book’s eleven contributors use more than 7 systematic MENA cases to analyze such rivalries and especially the impact of abrupt changes. The result is a dynamic analysis, both conceptually-driven and empirically-based, of a region plagued by static approaches."—Bahgat Korany, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, American University in Cairo


Meliha Benli Altunışık Paul Bezerra John Calabrese Kelly Marie Gordell Marwan Kabalan Imad Mansour Karen Rasler William R. Thompson Thomas J. Volgy Thomas Keith Wilson Yahia H. Zoubir

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Imad Mansour is an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University and a nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute (Washington, DC). He is the author of Statecraft in the Middle East: Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics and Security.

William R. Thompson is Distinguished Professor and Donald A. Rogers Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Indiana University, editor in chief of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, and an affiliated professor at the University of Washington.

264 pp., 7 x 10
27 figures, 8 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-767-4
Jun 2020

264 pp., 7 x 10
27 figures, 8 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-768-1
Jun 2020

264 pp.
27 figures, 8 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-769-8
Jun 2020

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