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Saudi Arabia and Iran: beyond conflict and coexistence?

Middle East Centre (2018) Saudi Arabia and Iran: beyond conflict and coexistence? . Middle East Centre, LSE, London, UK.

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The decades-old Saudi–Iranian rivalry has been once again thrust into the spotlight with political and social upheaval spreading in both countries and the wider region. With each government facing domestic pressure – be it from religious hardliners or civil society activists – their hostile stance vis-à-vis their regional rival may partially be explained by an attempt to rally a fractious country against a national foe. Both remain deeply involved in conflicts outside their borders, each funding proxies and political movements in a bid for influence and regional hegemony. In the hopes of deconstructing the popular – but reductionist – ‘Sunni vs. Shiʿa’ analytical framework often used to explain the conflict, the LSE Middle East Centre convened a workshop on 8 May 2018, bringing together Saudi and Iranian political, economic and social analysts with other Iran- and Saudi Arabia-watchers. The workshop examined the major dynamics that shape the ongoing rivalry between these regional heavyweights, and the report that follows is a summary of the proceedings. The first session featured speakers from each country examining the domestic-level concerns, including societal and elite perceptions of the Saudi/Iranian threat. The second focused on how the rivalry has spilled over and played out in various proxy conflicts in the region. The third looked at how international reactions have moulded and, in some cases, exacerbated the division. The workshop was held on the day US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the speed of events serving to underline the need for the expert analysis included herein.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2018 15:44
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:28

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