Building Regional Security in the Middle East: International, Regional and Domestic Influences

By Zeev Maoz; Emily B.Landau et al. | Go to book overview

1

Introduction

EMILY B.LANDAU and TAMAR MALZ

Systemic changes in world politics, together with significant regional developments in the Middle East-most importantly, the Second Gulf War in 1991 and the Madrid peace process-opened the door for the multilateral Middle East peace talks. These developments created the context for seriously pursuing Arms Control and Regional Security (ACRS) discussion in the early 1990s. Regional players in the post-Cold War period were both enabled and challenged to take a more active role in ensuring their security in the regional context. It became clear that there were common security concerns that could potentially be addressed through cooperative means.

In an effort to get past the constraints of the dominant self-help and often 'zero-sum game' mentality that had characterized the Arab-Israeli conflict, and national security policies that had tended to rely either on weapons build-ups or deterrence in their attempts to deal with conventional and non-conventional threats, scholars and practitioners alike began seriously exploring the notion of mutually beneficial cooperation in the security realm. Building on the expected progress in the bilateral peace negotiations, there was an interest in assessing the possibilities for creating some kind of regional security structure/regime that would manage regional security threats in a comprehensive manner. 1

During the first half of the 1990s, scholars engaged themselves more and more with the question of whether, and under what conditions, the Middle East could achieve regional security cooperation, or create a regional security regime. Alongside the official ACRS working group, numerous conferences, seminars and other types of unofficial working groups were held, dealing with conceptual aspects of regional security models and the

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