Category Archives: Gregory Gause

Chapter 3 – Gause, G. “Persian Gulf”

Rare social revolution occurred in Iran that was compared to the French, Russian and Chinese Revolutions.

1. Destroyed American – Iranian relationship

2. Brought new global crisis (prices doubled over 78-80)

3. Led to Iraq Iran war that lasted for 8 years

Focus on three regional repercussions

  1. A.    Political Fallout in the Region

After moths of protest, on January 19, 1979, Shah left Iran

On February 1 1979, Khomeini returned to Iran and was greeted by 2 million people.

February 11 the new government took power.

Revolution disturbed many Shia majority countries like Bahrain and Iraq bc they thought Iran would encourage uprisings in those countries.

IRAQ- many demonstrations occurred in Najaf and Karbala -Iraq when a Shia cleric was arrested before making his trip to Tehran.

Al-Dawa membership was punishable by death in March 1980  ( a party that called for an uprising against Sadam in Iraq)

April 1980 there was an attempt to kill the deputy prime minister by Shia militia.

The regime responded by killing the biggest Shia cleric, Muhammed Al-Sadr

Bahrain, S. Arabia, and Kuwait faced many demonstrators in 1979.

November 1979 the militia took over the Grand Mosque in Mecca for not being happy with the Kingdom for being to lenient to Shia and also blaming them for being pro-westd, and it took them two weeks to gain the Mosque back.

January 1980, the Iranian radio broadcasted plans to create a focre to export the Islamic revolutions in the neighboring countries.

April 1980 Iranians pilgrims demonstrated against the Saudi regime.

Khomeini was calling Sadam regime as despotic and criminal.

The new Islamic Republic was much weaker than Shah, but much more aggressively politically and threatened to destabilize regional countries that Shah didn’t do before.


1979 – $17.25 – 1981 – $32.51

BY JUNE 1980, Iran rose prices to $35 a barrel.

November 4, 1979, Khomeini supporters took over the US Embassy and held hostage all Embassy personel. They were aiming at stopping US from overthrowing the Khoeini regime since the Shah was admitted to the US.

January 20 1981 the hostage crisis ended. The last day of Carter presidency.

USSR invasion of Afghanistan send a new chock wave to the oil market.

After the fall of Iranian regime in 1979, Carter focused a more presence of US in the region, a policy that lasted for the next 25 years.

CARTER DOCTRINE – US would use any means necessary to protect its interest in the Gulf.



September 22, 1980 IRAQ launched a alarge attack in Iran.

Lasted 8 years

Three phases

1. 1980 -1982 Iraq invaded parts of Iran

2. 82-86 Iran took an offensive and most of the war fought in Iraq

3. 87-88 when Iraqi forces regained initiative and forced Iran to accept a ceasefire

The revolution appealed and threatened many rulers in the region that had Shia population

Second, the Iranian collapse created a vacuum for power in the region and Saddam was quick to assert his leadership to take a more dominant role in the region.

After the attempt to kill the Deputy Prime Minister, Saddam kills the Shia cleric and Shia sister and begin to threat Iranian regime.

Two factors that led to the September Iraq-Iran war.

First, they took time to prepare and organize, and, second, they attempted to topple Khomeini from within when the Nuzhih plot failed.

Sept, 1980- June 1982 Iraqi Invasion of Iran

Sept. 17 Saddam tore apart in fron tof the parliament the Algiers agreement and on

Sept. 22 he launched an attack against Iranian oil facilities and military bases

Initially. Iraqi forces managed to get hold of one city, but Iranians quickly mobilized and begin to take offense at Iraqi forces. By June 10, 1982, Saddam ordered all his troops out of Iran. Khuzistani Shia did not support Saddam and he failed to capitalize on their support.

Iraq’s Revolutionary Command Council drafted a cease-fire proposal without Saddam’s presence offering to bring Algiers agreement on and pre-war status. Iran refused; Saddam took advantage and got rid of many Council members by replacing them with his protégés and war continued.

Great powers, USSR and US stayed away from this war in the beginning that was surprising to the rest of the world. Both called for ceasefire.

In 1982, US started to support Iraq by taking off sanctions and providing them with intelligence data.

Egypt and Jordan sided with Iraq and provided help for them. Saudis and most other monarchies also threw their support for Saddam.

Syria was on Iranian side and despite that Syrian leadership originated similar to the one in Iraq, Baathist, that started with a student revolution that broke in two and ended up in Syria and Iraq, they still feared Saddam and their hostilities over the years did not make them comfortable with Iraq playing dominant in the region. (1979 Syria – Iraq Unity)

July 1982- February 1987 Iran Offensive

After Iran forced Iraqi troops out, there was some talk about signing a ceasefire. Khomeini decided against it and called for Baathist regime to come down. He planned to bring Saddam down and organize a more powerful support with Shia playing a major role in Iraq.

July 1982, Iran launched an attack in Basra.

Later, USSR and US sided with Iraq, but US never got involved to much in the region for 2 reasons. First, none of the sides were winning and this meant that each of them was getting weaker and no one would pose a dominant threat, and 2, the oil process plummeted during this time and this suited US.

Prices in oil plummeted and this was due to the fall in demand and S. Arabia’s increase in production. Prices fell from above $30 to almost below $10 a barrel. Reasons?!

Some argue this was a strategy to bankrupt USSR from Reagan administration and

Some argue that it was Saudis attempt to kill of Iran’s income who was a threat to the monarchy.

March 1987 – August 1988: US Intervention and Ceasefire

First time US became directly involved in the region militarily by 1) threatening Iran forces in the Gulf and 2) became much more involved diplomatically.

These factors forced Iran to accept a ceasefire in July 1988

US begun to protect Kuwaiti and Saudi oil tankers

US did take some military offense on Iran after Iran attacked US navy and was aiming at Kuwaiti tankers.

Council Resolution 598 forced Iran to agree to the ceasefire and US played a big role in pushing for it and the Soviet calm relations gave US more leverage to get involved in the region.

Iraq began to take charge and they were on the offense again. Iraq used chemical weapons during the attack.

1987, Saddam named his cousin a governor in Kurdish area and in retaliation to the Kurds who supported Iran during the conflict,

March 1988 – Chemical Ali launched Anfal campaign that used chemical weapons against Kurds in February through march 1988.

July 18, 1988, Iranian President, Ali Khamenei informed the UN that they would accept the UN Resolution 598 since the victory signs were very dim.

August 6 Saddam signed the deal.


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Gause Chapter 2 Outline

Emergence of the Gulf Regional System 1971-1978

1953: Iranian coup of Muhammad Mossadegh (16)

1958: Iraqi coup of Hashemite monarchy (16)

1960: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Venezuela form OPEC (27)


  • British protected Federation of South Arabia collapses and becomes People’s Republic of South Yemen (18)
  • British leave base at Aden (18)


  • Britain ends military presence in Gulf Region (16)
    • Opens up Persian Gulf as area of regional contestation
    • Ba’thist coup in Iraq (20)
      • Brings Ahmad Hussan al-Bakr and Saddam Hussein to power
      • Iran and Saudi Arabia mend relations (21)
        • Iran gives up claim to Bahrain

1969: Continue reading

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Gregory Gause’s Constructivist Argument

The first chapter in Gregory Gause’s The International Relations of the Persian Gulf argues that the best way to understand the security conflicts of the Persian Gulf is to view the area as a regional security complex. By this, he means that the wars, alliances, and the problems of consolidating centralized states in the region are mostly due to tensions between countries that have intense security interdependence on each other. According to Gause, the Persian Gulf regional security complex consists of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf monarchies because they focus intensely on each other and they have devoted the majority of their security resources to their relations with each other for decades. This argument contrasts Realist theories concerning the drive of foreign policy in the Gulf, as Realists believe that shifts and disparities in power centered around oil are most often the cause for conflict in the region. Gause argues that oil was not the primary driving factor in any of the Gulf wars. Rather, he argues that regional states have almost always acted more against perceived threats to their own domestic stability from others within the regional security complex. In other words, instead of choosing allies based on classic notions of balance to power, they chose their allies on how their own domestic regime would be affected by the outcome of regional conflicts. According to Gause, the most important and distinctive factor in the Gulf regional is not power imbalances but the salience of transnational identities.

The idea that reliance on support of or rejection of certain identities is driving force behind creating alliances is a constructivist argument that contests the realist argument that the pursuit of resources to become a hegemon or to balance power  is responsible for conflict in the Gulf. Gause explains that there are number of transnational identities, most importantly Arab, Kurdish, Muslim, Shi’i, Sunni, and tribal, that cross almost all the borders within the region. These identities affect regional politics because they offer leaders access to domestic politics within neighboring countries, which increases the likely hood of waging war in since leaders believe the can rally support from internal identity groups, and likewise because these identities are seen as threats to leader’s own regime stability. In other words, the reality of transnational identities in the Gulf both increases the likelihood that ambitious leaders will seek to exploit those identities to expand their influence and increase the sense of threat felt by the regimes that are the targets for those ambitious leaders. This is a large departure from Realist arguments that claim all conflict results from an attempt by leaders to either become a hegemon or balance powers in the region, such as dominating the oil market.


– Marie

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