U.S. POLICIES TOWARD IRAN AND IMPLICATIONS FOR REGIONAL SECURITY IN THE PERSIAN GULF FROM 1979 – 2008
Thesis Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, in Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Abstract of thesis presented to the Senate of Universiti Putra Malaysia in fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
U.S. POLICIES TOWARD IRAN AND IMPLICATIONS FOR REGIONAL SECURITY IN THE PERSIAN GULF FROM 1979 – 2008
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This research examined the US policies toward Iran and its implications on regional security in the Persian Gulf during the period from 1979 – 2008. In addition, the study also evaluated the U.S. policies toward Iran in relations to the Persian Gulf during the presidencies of Carter, Reagan, George HW Bush, Clinton, and George Bush during this period of time. The objectives of the research were achieved by seeking answers to the two research questions: 1) What were the evolutions of the U.S. regional security policies regarding Iran in the Persian Gulf from 1979 to 2008?; 2) What were the influences of the U.S. regional security policies on the regional peace and stability regarding Iran in the Persian Gulf?
Based on the research questions, the goals of this study were to examine and analyze the security policies of different US administrations from the time of the Islamic revolution in 1979 until the end of the George W. Bush presidency in 2008. In other words, the main focus of the study was to understand the security policies of the US administrations during the period from 1979 to 2008 toward Iran in the Persian Gulf region. Therefore, the study attempted to evaluate these security policies to identify and explain the factors of success or failure of these policies in the Persian Gulf region and to finally determine the security status of the Persian Gulf. As such, evaluating the thrust of various US policies toward Iran in the Persian Gulf region will show the success or failure of the US to create peace and security in the region.
For this purpose, the qualitative approach was selected and applied to the study and the data were collected from official websites available on the internet. Such data comprised the speeches of the Iranian and American administrations, official records and documents on security policies of the US toward Iran in the Persian Gulf region including the Arms Export Control Act, U.S. Congress negotiations, US Department of State annual reports, Country Reports on Terrorism, Peterson Institute Documents, and Middle East policy council documents. Thus, the goal of using the qualitative approach was to obtain an in-depth understanding of the security policies of the US toward Iran in the Persian Gulf region during the specified period. The analysis of the data revealed that the unilateral security policies of different US administrations toward Iran in the Persian Gulf did not succeed in establishing stability and peace for the region. Based on the conclusions of the research, the three main findings are outlined as follows:
Firstly, the findings of the current study about the U.S. policies toward Iran in relation to the Persian Gulf region since the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979 show that these policies were always confronted by challenges from local states such as Iran and Iraq and in some cases, a few regional conservative Arab states such as Saudi Arabia. This implies the failure of the unilateral U.S. security policies in the Persian Gulf region.
Secondly, the analysis of the “Regional Security Complex Theory” proves that according to the “Regional Security Complex Theory”, there were significant relationships between the rivalries of the regional states in the Persian Gulf and external interventions. The results revealed that local rivalries led to the interference by external powers in the region. In the case of Iran, the rivalries inside the Gulf Cooperation Council states and between them and Iran and Iraq led to U.S. intervention in the region. Moreover, the results obtained from application of the theory to the realities of the region revealed that the only reasonable solution for the security problems of the Persian gulf region is a collective security forum that involves all the states of this important area including the GCC states, Iran and Iraq (6+2 arrangement).
Finally, the findings of this study have important implications for the promotion of peace and security in the Persian Gulf region. As the results showed, the various direct and indirect U.S policies toward Iran related to the Persian Gulf were unable to enhance American demands for a stable condition to maintain their interest in the region. Furthermore, the U.S. policies could not stop Iran’s ambitions to have a collective security policy that involved all the Persian Gulf states in a forum. So the findings of this study suggest that to stabilize the region, there should be multilateral relations between Iran, Iraq, the GCC and U.S. that consider the concerns of all parties and the participation of all local states for peace and security to be achievable in the region.
LIST OF FIGURES
ASEAN: the Association of Southeast Asian Nation
ARF: ASEAN [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] Regional Forum
BMDS: Ballistic Missile Defense System
CENTO: Central Treaty Organization
DOD: Department of Defense (America)
EIA: Energy Information Administration
G6: Group six including five permanent members of the United Nation’s Security Council (America, Russia China, Britain, France) plus Germany
GCC: Gulf Cooperation Council
GOIC: Gulf Organization for Industrial Consultancy
GRSF: [Persian] Gulf Regional Security Forum
I.R.IRAN: the Islamic Republic of Iran
IAEA: the International Atomic Energy Agency
ILSA: the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996
INP: Iran’s Nuclear Program
ICO: Islamic Conference Organization
ISA: Iran Sanctions Act
NAM: Non Aligned Movement
NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NPT: treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
NW: Nuclear Weapon
OPEC: the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
OSCE: the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
PA: Palestinian Authority
PLO: Palestinian Liberation Organization
RDJTF: Rapid Deployment Joint Task Forces.
RSCT: Regional Security Complex Theory
UAE: United Arab Emirates
UN: the United Nations
UNSC: the United Nations Security Council
UK: United Kingdom
USA: the United States of America
USCENTCOM: the U.S. Central Command
USSR: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
WMD: Weapons of Mass Destruction
Since the withdrawal of United Kingdom forces from east of Suez and the Persian Gulf region in 1971, the security system of this region has been confronted with many challenges and the concerns about security have been reintroduced into the debate on the world order and enhanced the previous efforts of the United States of America to establish a balance of power security system against the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the end of formal domination of the United Kingdom since 1971 brought to the debate the issue of security studies and related questions in the Persian Gulf region.
The milestone of the Persian Gulf security developments is occurrence of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 that challenged the US interests in the Persian Gulf. In this regard, as the Persian Gulf had an important role to the U.S. economy and industry the U.S. policymakers took different policies toward Iran and Persian Gulf region but these policies have always been faced with serious challenges from Iran and other countries in the region. This study seeks to evaluate the influences of the US security regional policies toward the Persian Gulf after the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Also it evaluates the influences of the struggle between the U.S. and Iran in the Persian Gulf. This chapter will develop a definition of regional security and the vital role of peace and security among regions and nations. In addition, it will present a brief history of the US regional security policies in the Persian Gulf region. Finally, it will discuss the statement of the problem, research questions, research objectives and the significance of the study.
Source: indymedia.org.uk (2012)
Regional security and the interdependence of security have always been at the core of security studies by scholars in this field. In security systems studies, states are the basic units in the international system and their autonomy is affected by the regional sub-systems. In the state-centric view, the basic assumption is that states are the primary actors in the international system and are also the legitimate providers of security. In a region like the Persian Gulf, regional states of the Persian Gulf area (Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman), have a vital role in security policies of the region.
On the other hand, super powers and external powers in important regions of the world including Persian Gulf region have their benefits and interests. In this regard, they want to create a balance of power in favor of themselves and in this process, they attempt to maintain or change the security systems of such regions. Logic of balance of power is penetration of external powers in these regions and penetration is caused by indigenous regional rivalry among local states in the regions. So securization and desecurization of each state in the region is in interaction with other states of the region and finally this interaction leads to national security of all regional states.
The background of the study will be discussed in three parts: the importance of the Persian Gulf geopolitics, US past attempts for building security system in the Persian Gulf region and today’s feature of the Persian Gulf region.
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