Sub-regions and Security in the Arab Middle East: “hierarchical interdependence” in Gulf-Levant Relations

Marina Calculli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter seeks to explain the underlying factors for the security of some countries and the insecurity of others in the Arab Middle East. The chapter argues that there is a link between the security of some Arab countries and the insecurity of others. In fact, the security of some depends on the insecurity of others. The chapter introduces the concept of “hierarchical interdependence” in order to explicate the dynamic and capacity of some countries to produce and fuel insecurity within rival countries – especially those intent on changing the regional security status quo – whilst containing the consequences of this insecurity for their own security. Furthermore, the chapter sheds light on the indirect and non-traditional means that these countries employ in order to achieve their goals without engaging in direct confrontation. The empirical evidence for this phenomenon is particularly solid in GCC-Levant relations. By looking at security issues at the sub-regional level, the chapter seeks to highlight the balance of threat and the securitization of specific issues that have led to the creation of institutional sub-regions (the GCC) or “imagined sub-regions” (i.e. the ‘Shi’a crescent’ or what I define as the Arab ‘inter-monarchical axis’) giving shape to either defence alliances or power projects. I show how the GCC states have succeeded in undermining the military and the infrastructural power of the Levant states, thus neutralizing their ability to threaten them, thus securing their position in the regional hierarchy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegional Insecurity After the Arab Uprisings. Narratives of Security and Threat
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Middle East
  • Regional Security


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