An Analysis of the Geopolitical Factors in the Formation of Military-Arabian Coalescence in Southwest Asia and its Effects on Security of Islamic Republic of Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate in Political Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Political Geography, University of Tehran, Iran


Nowadays, Southwest Asia is inflamed by terrorist attacks and rioting groups mainly in Iraq and Syria, invasion of Saudi Arabia to Yemen and its interferences in Bahrain, political agitations in northern Iraq, increased tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the presence of Iranian military and counselors in Iraq and Syria. In such conditions, the aims of some Arabian states including the Saudi Arabia are to prevent geopolitical influence of Iran in the region and augment their military and economic power. Following the aims, the countries attempt to utilize these circumstances for their interests and against Iran through forming military-Arabian coalescence. In May, 2017, with an increase in the interest of the Arabian states around the Persian Gulf to form the new military-Arabian coalescence, as it was called Arabian NATO by some journalists, the USA seriously supported the coalescence. This was cleared by the travel of American president, Donald Trump, to Riyadh. 
Constitution of such coherent coalescence in the past was not successful due to geographical dispersion of the Islamic states, differences in the views of the states about the political and international approach of Iran, and difference in identity of the nations. Although these attempts in the past were failed, this time the Arabian states particularly Saudi Arabia supported by the trans-regional states like USA are serious to form the coalescence. 
The purpose of this research is to address the event by exploring the geopolitical reasons of the interest, neo-realism approach, and using cross-effects analysis technique and also to understand the impacts of the event on national security of Iran. 
This is an applied research by an integrated-analytical method. In the research, the data have been gathered by library sources and internet. We have used cross-effects analysis technique as a method in future research strategies. We have also applied Delphi method using questionnaires to obtain the components affecting the event. 
Results and discussion 
In this study, we have investigated the reasons and favorable conditions for constitution of the Arabic military coalescence in southwest Asia by a neo-realistic approach in geopolitics. The possible impacts of the coalescence on the national security of Iran have also been accessed. In other sciences such as international relations the neo-realistic approach is used to understand the interests of the countries to form such coalescences, fear from one or more rival countries, and the issues about balances of powers, balances of threats, and balances of interests. Among the issues, the theory of hegemony is outlined. This mentions the influence of the dominant power on united and convergent international structures. 
After we received the views of experts about potential influences of the factors affecting the formation of the coalescence in southwest Asia, the views have been analyzed. The results of the model have revealed the factors encouraging the Arabian states to form the anti-Iran coalescence. These factors are including the influence of trans-regional powers, particularly United States, geographical characteristics of the Persian Gulf region, environmental issues and limitations, huge volume of oil and gas resources of the region, higher population of Iran relative to the Arabian states. 
There are some factors that can threaten the security of Iran. Trans-regional powers, particularly the USA, play important role in configuration of the coalescence. The economic rivalry and occupation of economic markets of the southwest Asia and the resources of oil and gas of Persian Gulf is very important for the Arabian countries. On the other hand, the main goal of the Arabian states in formation of the coalescence is to decrease the security and geopolitical influence of Iran in the region. Therefore, this can be concluded that the coalescence can affect the national security of Iran in military and economic areas in the present and the future. As security means lack of threat in the existing values, these factors and goals of the states are direct threats for the issues. 
The increased military power of Iran, increased internal security and the higher geopolitical influence of Iran after Islamic Revolution are concerns for rivals of Iran in the geopolitical region of Persian Gulf. Thus, the states decided to take common policies in order to prevent the increase in the power of Iran in the region and guarantee the survival of their government. The changes can be explained by the theory of hegemony as the Arabian states obey the dominant powers including USA. 
Unlike the views of the researchers and authorities of Iran, the results of this research have indicated that the variables such as religion, language, and invasion to Iran embassy in Saudi Arabia were nor effective in the interests of the Arabian states. The states are not interested in decrease in their economic relations with Iran. 
It can be suggested that before the military-Arabian coalescence is formed, in such critical conditions, Iran government should make great attempts to mitigate the Iranophobia in this region and to make the countries aware of the extensive security damage to entire the region and the maximum interests the coalescence can bring for the USA. Based on the findings of this research, economic and military security of Iran is threatened by formation of the coalition. Thus, it is necessary for the diplomacy of Iran to make further efforts to mitigate the Iran-phobia in the region. In other words, as the formation of the Arabian military coalition can endanger the security and economic conditions of Iran, the government of Iran has to prevent the formation of the coalition and weaken its development. So, Iranian government has to make the world aware of its peaceful purposes and reduce the Iranophobia among the countries of the region. Additionally, Iran has to make the neighboring states aware of the great damages this coalition may have for all the states of the region and the highest benefits of that for the Americans.


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Volume 50, Issue 4
January 2019
Pages 1011-1027
  • Receive Date: 09 February 2018
  • Revise Date: 21 July 2018
  • Accept Date: 21 July 2018
  • First Publish Date: 22 December 2018