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Troubled Waters

Insecurity in the Persian Gulf

Troubled Waters looks at four dynamics in the Persian Gulf that have contributed to making the region one of the most volatile and tension-filled spots in the world. Mehran Kamrava identifies the four dynamics as: the neglect of human dimensions of security, the inherent instability involved in reliance on the United States and the exclusion of Iraq and Iran, the international and security policies pursued by inside and outside actors, and a suite of overlapping security dilemmas. These four factors combine and interact to generate long-term volatility and ongoing tensions within the Persian Gulf.

Through insights from Kamrava’s interviews with Gulf elites into policy decisions, the consequences of security dilemmas, the priorities of local players, and the neglect of identity and religion, Troubled Waters examines the root causes of conflicts and crises that are currently unfolding in the region. As Kamrava demonstrates, each state in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Qatar, has embarked on vigorous security-producing efforts as part of foreign policy, flooding the area with more munitions—thereby increasing insecurity and causing more mistrust in a part of the world that needs no more tension.

Author Information

KamravaMehran:

Mehran Kamrava is Professor and Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He is the author of a number of books, including, most recently, Iran’s Intellectual Revolution and The Modern Middle East: A Political History since the First World War, 3rd edition. He is also the editor of The International Politics of the Persian Gulf, Innovation in Islam: Traditions and Contributions, The Political Economy of the Persian Gulf, and The Nuclear Question in the Middle East.

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Anoush Ehteshami, Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah Chair in International Relations, Durham University:

"Mehran Kamrava is one of the greatest authorities on the Persian Gulf. I am delighted to see that he has distilled all the knowledge and experience he has accumulated in this new book on the causes of lingering insecurity in the region."

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