The dramatic changes in the international system over the last decade were accompanied by theoretical and political efforts to redefine security on a national, regional and global level. 1 Various establishments within states and international security organizations are engaged in persistent efforts to identify new functions that would refill the void that seems to have arisen in the traditional realm of international security.
Parallel to this process, a fierce debate is taking place in academic circles regarding the content and structure of the concept of security. Neither the political search for new definitions of security, nor the academic debates have yielded conclusive outcomes thus far. The search is still on.
Despite the lack of universally accepted definitions of security, the situation is far from chaotic. What we are witnessing is a shift from traditional notions of security to new conceptions of the term. Concomitantly, policy making that has not been hitherto considered as a traditional part of the security repertoire of states is now increasingly recognized as security-related. The conceptual and political confusion of the notion of national and regional security is the starting point of the present study. Specifically, this study is concerned with the following questions:
1. What are the basic conceptions of security at the national and regional level?
2. Have they changed over time? If so, how? If not, why not?
3. What are the implications of changing notions of security at the national and regional levels for national and regional security affairs?
4. Are such changes reflected in the Middle East of the last decade?