THIS IS AN NJR, NOT JACKET BLURB. PLEASE DO NOT USE IN ITS RAW FORM.Syrian-Saudi relations have been a paradox in inter-Arab politics during the oil era. The two states pursued mutually conflicting aims in almost every major regional or international foreign policy issue and often propagated contrasting ideological banners over the past thirty years; yet both acted as though some form of an alignment existed between themselves. The most obvious evidence for the existence and endurance of this link is observed in the sizable financial transaction from Saudi Arabia to Syria, which came to form a lifeline for Syria's national economy. Besides the economic sphere, the two countries have consulted each other on major regional political and security issues, such as the Middle East peace process, the Lebanese civil war and Gulf security. The author explores the logic behind the paradoxical longevity of this cooperative relationship- despite the occasional tensions and conflicting interests- through an empirical study of the twelve-year period, which was marked by exceptionally abundant sources of disagreements between the two actors. That period is between the 1978 Egyptian-Israeli Camp David Accords and the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The study highlights that this ultimate indispensability of each other in Syrian-Saudi relations is a condition created, among other factors, by the historical appeal of 'shared identities', be they Arabism or Islam. Through the examination of the Syrian-Saudi case, the author argues that, the regulatory, or normative, function of 'shared identities' in foreign policy are informed by realist interests as well as shape and constrain those interests at the same time. In other words, identities and their ensuing norms and values should not be seen as exterior to state interests, but instead, the two are mutually constitutive factors.
Syria and Saudi Arabia
Collaboration and Conflicts in the Oil Era