Zoltan Barany: The Gulf Monarchies and Gulf Defense Establishments

Zoltan Barany has published an article and Cambridge elements manuscript.

“The Gulf Monarchies and Israel:From Aversion to Pragmatism” (The Middle East Journal)

Abstract: The relationship between most of the Gulf monarchies and Israel has improved in recent years. This article argues that four fundamental reasons account for the shift in Gulf leaders’ attitudes: growing alignment of geopolitical interests against Iran, failings of American Middle East policy, recognition of the potential economic benefits of d├ętente, and attitudinal shifts about the Palestinian cause. While this trend is present nearly throughout the Gulf, individual states’ evolving nexuses to Israel underscore the divergences in their foreign policies.

The Political Economy of Gulf Defense Establishments:

The six monarchies on the Arabian Peninsula have devoted enormous sums to defense in past decades. Nevertheless, the gap between their expensive armaments and their capacity to deter aggression and/or project military strength has narrowed but little in that time. This Element takes a political economy approach and argues that structural factors inherent in the Gulf states’ political systems prohibit civilian oversight of the defense sector and are responsible for this outcome. Lax restraints on military outlays, in turn, enable widespread corruption, lead to large-scale waste, and account for the purchasing of unneeded, unsuitable, and incompatible weapons systems. The Element explores the challenges caused by plummeting oil prices and the resulting budget cuts and considers the development of domestic defense industries in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, intended as a part of their economic diversification program. The setbacks of the Saudi-led coalition’s on-going war in Yemen starkly illustrate the narrative.