Saudi-Iranian Relations since the Fall of Saddam: Rivalry, Cooperation, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Saudi-Iranian Relations since the Fall of Saddam: Rivalry, Cooperation, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Saudi-Iranian Relations since the Fall of Saddam: Rivalry, Cooperation, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Saudi-Iranian Relations since the Fall of Saddam: Rivalry, Cooperation, and Implications for U.S. Policy

Synopsis

This book surveys how Saudi-Iranian relations have unfolded in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine since 2003, identifying the sources of rivalry and cooperation between the two powers. Understanding and leveraging this relationship will be a critical part of U.S. efforts to promote stability after the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq and to manage the regional impact of Iran&'s nuclear ambitions.

Excerpt

The often tense relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran has been at the center of many of the major political shifts that have occurred in the Middle East since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Changing diplomatic and economic arrangements in the Persian Gulf; the political upheaval in Lebanon; continuing strife in Palestine; and growing strategic concerns around the world about Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons have all, in some way, been shaped by the competing interests of these two nations. While it is not the sole contributor to these changes, understanding the Saudi-Iranian relationship will help U.S. policymakers discern the future contours of Middle East politics. This is especially important since Saudi Arabia and Iran will be the critical regional players in the wake of a U.S. drawdown and withdrawal from Iraq.

This report documents a study of Saudi-Iranian relations since 2003. It focuses on how the relationship has affected and been affected by the major events that have taken place in the Middle East. the research was conducted between fall 2006 and January 2009. It should be of interest to the policymaking community, defense analysts, and other observers of the Middle East.

This research was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center (ISDP) of the rand National Security Research Division (NSRD). nsrd conducts research and analysis for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the defense agencies, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Intelligence Community, allied foreign governments, and foundations.

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