INTER-ARAB COMPETITION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF GULF STATE FOREIGN POLICIES
Bettis, Timothy J.
Ostovar, Afshon P.
Malley, Michael S.
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While historical ties between the Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia date back centuries, interaction between these regions in the twentieth century has traditionally been limited to religiopolitical engagements such as the hajj, or the movement of labor and remittances. In the last decade, the strategic value of Southeast Asia has risen dramatically for a number of reasons, including the growth of the region's economies as well as the rise of India, China, and other great powers. Emerging concurrently with major economic restructuring in the Middle East and the changing security dynamics of the Persian Gulf, there is little doubt that the political, economic, and military interactions of these regions will grow. Given the growing diversity of Arab interactions in the region, this raises the question, is Southeast Asia emerging as a zone of competition between Arab Gulf states? While the literature on ties between Asia and the Middle East is growing, contemporary studies of inter-Arab competition in Southeast Asia are largely missing. Through the analytical framework of Regional Security Complex Theory, this thesis concludes that Gulf Arab outreach to Southeast Asia is neither cooperative nor competitive, largely due to a lack of serious collective threats to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) emerging from this region combined with a low degree of intra-Arab enmity.
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