III. Dependence of the Gulf states on external security guarantees The previous part of the

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III. Dependence of the Gulf states on external security guarantees

The previous part of the essay mostly focused on internal political dimensions of instability and conflict in the Arab part of the Gulf. Other factors of instability in the Gulf belong to the systemic level of the Gulf subregion. One of these factors is the existing regional security architecture, which fosters dependence on the U.S. to provide means of defence and deterrence.

Part of the issue is that U.S. security guarantees result in lack of consensus and cooperation among the Gulf states themselves, which ultimately fuels conflict. It could be argued that American security commitments and lack of cooperation are mutually reinforcing and form a vicious circle.
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is destabilising for two main reasons: a) it prioritises bilateral security arrangements with the U.S., which removes the incentive for creation of a cooperative regional security architecture, while b) sparking conflict with Iran, the state excluded and threatened by these arrangements. Basically, because security is exclusive and provided externally, international relations in the Gulf remain a zero-sum game plagued by security dilemmas, power politics, instability and conflict.

IV. Conflictual nature of international relations in the Gulf

The second systemic cause of instability is that of the anarchical nature of the regional international system, which perpetuates conflict and punishes states for deviation from conflictual behavior patterns. For the past 30 years the Gulf has seen three major interstate conflicts, each leading to the next and entrenching conflict as the only mode of interaction.

These clashes carried significant neorealist undertones . For example, in 1980 Iraq attacked Iran, because, it can be argued from a neorealist perspective, Iran was isolated and weakened by internal revolutionary struggles, while the pre-existing balance of power had shifted in Iraq's favour. In this case, even if we accept the fact that Iran had been trying to achieve the fall of the Iraqi regime through insurgency, the neorealist position would still hold true, for

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