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Asymmetric alliances and high polarity: evaluating regional security complexes in the Middle East and Horn of Africa

Asymmetric alliances and high polarity: evaluating regional security complexes in the Middle East... AbstractThe Middle East and the Horn of Africa exist in two distinct regional security complexes (RSCs), groupings of states exhibiting intense security interdependence within a distinct region, but rarely between regions. Recent geopolitical changes and related analyses, however, point to either a subsuming or a joining of the two RSCs, potentially leading to a high degree of uncertainty in two conflict-prone regions. Given the importance of such developments, we question this theory of RSC expansion by offering a concise review of recent security interactions between the two RSCs as well as quantitatively and qualitatively measuring the material power capabilities of relevant states. Borrowing from and contributing to RSC theory, we also identify and analyse concepts and indicators such as threat perception and sub-regional alliances. Our findings demonstrate the Middle East RSC is not expanding to include that of the Horn of Africa. The two remain distinct and under internal consolidation, despite the current discourse. Rather, high polarity in the Middle East coupled with often-congruent interests in Horn of Africa states best explains the current pattern of their interaction, particularly as Middle East states pursue strategies that further their own security interests at the expense of rival states within their own RSC. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Third World Quarterly Taylor & Francis

Asymmetric alliances and high polarity: evaluating regional security complexes in the Middle East and Horn of Africa

Third World Quarterly , Volume 41 (3): 20 – Dec 6, 2019

Asymmetric alliances and high polarity: evaluating regional security complexes in the Middle East and Horn of Africa

Third World Quarterly , Volume 41 (3): 20 – Dec 6, 2019

Abstract

AbstractThe Middle East and the Horn of Africa exist in two distinct regional security complexes (RSCs), groupings of states exhibiting intense security interdependence within a distinct region, but rarely between regions. Recent geopolitical changes and related analyses, however, point to either a subsuming or a joining of the two RSCs, potentially leading to a high degree of uncertainty in two conflict-prone regions. Given the importance of such developments, we question this theory of RSC expansion by offering a concise review of recent security interactions between the two RSCs as well as quantitatively and qualitatively measuring the material power capabilities of relevant states. Borrowing from and contributing to RSC theory, we also identify and analyse concepts and indicators such as threat perception and sub-regional alliances. Our findings demonstrate the Middle East RSC is not expanding to include that of the Horn of Africa. The two remain distinct and under internal consolidation, despite the current discourse. Rather, high polarity in the Middle East coupled with often-congruent interests in Horn of Africa states best explains the current pattern of their interaction, particularly as Middle East states pursue strategies that further their own security interests at the expense of rival states within their own RSC.

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References (83)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2019 Global South Ltd
ISSN
1360-2241
eISSN
0143-6597
DOI
10.1080/01436597.2019.1693255
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThe Middle East and the Horn of Africa exist in two distinct regional security complexes (RSCs), groupings of states exhibiting intense security interdependence within a distinct region, but rarely between regions. Recent geopolitical changes and related analyses, however, point to either a subsuming or a joining of the two RSCs, potentially leading to a high degree of uncertainty in two conflict-prone regions. Given the importance of such developments, we question this theory of RSC expansion by offering a concise review of recent security interactions between the two RSCs as well as quantitatively and qualitatively measuring the material power capabilities of relevant states. Borrowing from and contributing to RSC theory, we also identify and analyse concepts and indicators such as threat perception and sub-regional alliances. Our findings demonstrate the Middle East RSC is not expanding to include that of the Horn of Africa. The two remain distinct and under internal consolidation, despite the current discourse. Rather, high polarity in the Middle East coupled with often-congruent interests in Horn of Africa states best explains the current pattern of their interaction, particularly as Middle East states pursue strategies that further their own security interests at the expense of rival states within their own RSC.

Journal

Third World QuarterlyTaylor & Francis

Published: Dec 6, 2019

Keywords: Regional security complex theory; Middle East; threat perception; Horn of Africa; Arab Gulf States; security interdependence; polarity

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