An Explanation of Iran and Saudi Arabia's Regional Status after 2003 according to the Status Attainment Theory
The Middle East has seen considerable upheavals after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 including the replacement of Iraq’s Sunnidominated government with a Shia one, Lebanese Hezbollah’s rising power after the 33-day war with Israel in 2006 and Hamas’ victory in parliamentary elections in 2006. Since early 2011, moreover, the socalled Arab Spring developments have brought about more vast changes to the region. In the meantime, foreign policy conduct of Iran and Saudi Arabia as two major regional powers towards the developments matters a lot. Status attainment theory is capable of explaining the perception of political actors of their own regional and global status. In this article, foreign policies of these two states are explained since 2003 according to this theory. The author concludes that Iran has pursued a more aggressive and assertive foreign policy within those years, whereas Saudi Arabia has had largely a responsive foreign policy. This very fact has led Iran to take more benefits from these developments, becoming a more powerful regional power, according to the status attainment theory, in spite of Saudi Arabia’s capacities and vast financial resources.
Middle East Studies Quarterly, Volume:20 Issue: 3, 2014
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