Mohsen rostami 1
Since the end of the Second World War, the Persian Gulf region has been among the first priorities of security and foreign policy of the United States of America. However, this significance doubled after the 9/11th and in the following, during the occupation of Iraq in March, 2003; and it seems that it will continue in the future. Abundance of energy resources in Persian Gulf has increased the number of American forces, particularly after the occupation of Iraq. On this account, this country tries to implement different options regarding the security future of the Persian Gulf and prevent from performing the regional security models. The present survey tries to provide some techniques in this regard through addressing the most central effective parameters in future security of Persian Gulf in the 21st century. Since the Islamic Republic of Iran is the most influential country in the Persian Gulf region, it is necessary to analyze the available security options and select the best possible way to promote the security and national interests of Islamic Republic of Iran. The role of new Iraq in forming the security equations of Persian Gulf region, the relations of Iraq’s new government with the member nations of Persian Gulf Cooperation Council and Iran, and also the effect of these relations on the political security of Islamic Republic of Iran are discussed in this article. The results of findings show that Iran, as the largest country in Persian Gulf region and one of the most important influential countries in the region, must determine its geopolitical significance in the global changing system through creating widespread links in relations with neighboring countries of Persian Gulf in geopolitical, geostrategic, and geo economic depth; besides, it should make it more efficient. Finally, the hypothesis stating that “regional security in Persian Gulf will be established through creating Islamic participation model and without the presence of trans-regional power” is approved.
Key words: geopolitics, Persian Gulf, security, participatory security, geopolitical region, Islamic security.
The geopolitics of Persian Gulf has changed during the past centuries. This change relates largely to the power exchange in the Persian Gulf region. Thus, the security arrangements in Persian Gulf have long been taken into consideration by the international and regional players, however, following the recent changes in the region, the emergence of new Iraq and presence of foreign military forces have all add to the importance of these arrangements. Since the Islamic Republic of Iran is considered as one of the most important players in the security of Persian Gulf without the presence of America, each program designed to expel America from the region has particular importance for Iran, since during the recent years, America invaded Iraq using some preventive policies and without the permit of the UN Security Council. And it has created some new security conditions for invading and security controlling of Islamic Republic of Iran through constant presence in the region under the pretext of fighting against terrorism. At present, Persian Gulf is considered as a barrier to the regional interests of Islamic Republic of Iran due to the presence of American forces, on one hand, and also because of the challenges aggravated by the member nations of Cooperation Council, particularly the United Arab Emirates. So, Islamic Republic of Iran is concerned with its security arrangements and seeks a participation model among the Islamic countries which entails the most advantages and the least expenditure for the regional security. Since the countries have only one product and are reliant on exporting oil and parallel economy, they have become totally dependent on the industrial powers and independent of their neighboring countries. In the light of these conditions, America and Israel try to destroy the natural process of regional economy and make the countries of this region totally dependent on the oil revenues. This policy has lots of advantages for Western countries and particularly America. In this regard, the countries of Persian Gulf region send the oil revenues to the West due to boundary and sometimes ethnic conflicts and the overall conditions dominating the region, and also to fulfill their own military objectives (Simbar, 2006:28). On one hand, the identity crises, social chaos, inefficiency and inability of social leadership among Arabs and legitimacy crisis, internal ethnic conflicts, external political and religious (and sometimes individual) conflicts, and a great deal of vulnerabilities in the regional countries have all created a condition in which the Arab countries have all created a condition in which the Arab countries of this region are regarded as the weakest nations all over the world. America has also stepped into this strategic area in response to the regional countries’ invitation and with the intention of protecting security and stability (of its own or its allies) and has constantly regarded itself responsible for and protective of global interests in Persian Gulf. “The internal conditions of Persian Gulf are such a way that there is no possibility of bilateral of multilateral cooperation among the regional countries and these countries are directed to the West to gain security. Thus, the main factors of insecurity, instability, and foreigners’ presence are embedded in the internal regional issues and problems and are the direct outcome of the regional countries’ performance; and to remove the effect, the cause should be necessarily removed.” (Ranjbar, 1999: 174)
The subject’s importance:
Securitization, regardless of global desirability, results in serious dangers and regional conflicts. Passing the regional security crises requires a wisdom-centered coalition. The regional countries should be aware of the fat that the common religious, linguistic, and ethnic roots are highly intertwined with each other. Taking this fundamental step, several changes will occur:
– The Persian Gulf subordinate system is a system which has necessarily a certain function in the global economy, i.e. the producer of oil is and the scope of its members’ common interest is developed and the ground is provided for regional cooperation.
– the number of players having a role in the Persian Gulf subordinate system will be increased and hence the system will exit the present condition, i.e. the number of players among whom the power is inappropriately distributed, and practically some grounds will be provided for dynamic coalitions and unities. Besides, development of communications and communication network along with the development of system’s operational domain can necessarily represent the rational cognition based on the common interests and provide the ground for establishment of official regimes, or in other words, the substructures of the official control of behavioral models, and reduce the reliance on the preventive system which is regarded as the most effective process available in the controlling structure.
The logic of power, economy, and communication clarifies the formation of a system called Persian Gulf subordinate system. This system is comprised of three sectors: central, peripheral, and intervening. Since they have a serious structural division, a kind of contradictory behavioral model dominates among them. Moreover, from the cybernetic viewpoint, the aforesaid structure is considered as two controlling and controlled substructures. In comparison with the given conditions of available paradigms in international relations about the essential quality in order for these two structures to be efficient, the Persian Gulf subordinate system lacks the aforesaid conditions and hence, the controlling structure is not fully developed and as the result, it is unable to function. In this regard, the geographical features of Persian Gulf and its proximity with other subordinate systems such as the Middle Asia and Caucasus on one hand, and close connection with Europe on the other hand, can be used as the starting point of the proposed model in order to improve its inefficiencies. On this account, the geographical position of Persian Gulf and its relation with other subordinate systems is considered as the first parameter in the proposed model. The second step is the practical application of this situation and establishing a connection among the Persian Gulf’s neighboring subordinate systems. Thus, the “regional balance model’ is the best technique which removes a considerable portion of security threats if its different aspects are reviewed and any biased prejudgment is avoided. According to the security-security approach, all countries can provide their own relative security through accepting mutual commitments about limiting the military capabilities”.
Question of research:
How does the Islamic participation model affect the establishment of security in the Persian Gulf region?
– The regional security in Persian Gulf will be established through creating an Islamic participation model and without the presence of trans-regional power.
The method of research:
The independent variable of research is the Islamic participation model, and its dependent variable is the regional security in Persian Gulf. The presence of America in Persian Gulf region and Iraq’s war are the unwanted variables of research. So, the method of research is descriptive and analytical, and the information is gathered via library and based on documents, deeds, and internet research. Some parts of the survey are the result of professional implication of the author from different articles.
Prior to giving and definition, it should be stated that like most of other domains of social and human sciences, there is no consensus in the security domain and the concepts do not possess any certain and specific limits. Thus, the ambiguity is one of the elements of this discussion. Considering this explanation, it should be said that different definitions have been expressed for security. According to the encyclopedia of international relations, “the national security is a condition in which a nation lives without being concerned with the fear of losing all or part of its population, property or territory” (Asarian &Taraghi, 2008). Robert Mc. Nomara believes that the security “is not a military hardware”, although it may includes it (Al-e-Is’hagh, 2010).
The geopolitical region:
The geopolitical region is formed based on a homogeneous structural or functional geographical space or region. The identification of geopolitical region requires the political development of the homogeneous geographical region and its pertinent elements. In other words, if the structural or functional elements of a geographical region create a role individually or socially, completely or incompletely, the geographical region will change its nature and will turn into a geographical region. In the geopolitical region, some competitions are created between the convergent and divergent forces in which the geopolitical structure stage, which is the developed stage of the geopolitical region, is formed and finally, with the dominance of convergent forces, the regional organization will come into existence (Hafiz Nia, 2006: 111).
The geographical and power-centered approach has been manifested from the realism. Basically, based on the realism paradigm, power is one of the constituent of the international relations, the national government is the only player and its objective is the national interests and security. Here, the basic issues which lead to the formation of region in that approach are introduced. From now on, a world is conceivable in which all the players compete, or in a better sense, the fight against each other. According to Carl Deutch who introduced the theory of “the relations of fundamental variables constituting the region”:
– The units constituting the region which he calls them geographical unit or the territories known as country.
– the nature of regional boundaries; these boundaries are not just the lines drawn by geologist on the map, rather what can really form a boundary is considerable reduction in the transactions process. The intensity and congestion of transactions process will be reduced with the increase in distance. Generally, the boundaries are classified into two basic types of hierarchical–functional and liminal. In the hierarchical -functional, the reduction of transactions toward a certain point is very low. But after reaching that point, they will be highly reduced, and then the descending movement will be reduced again. The second type of boundaries is classified as liminal ones. Here, the transactions will have a lasting reduction. Finally, he concludes that the regional boundary can be regarded as a place in which there is a considerable reduction in transactions. Of course, such boundaries will be formed with regard to different types of transactions (Deutch, 1969: 98-104).
In recent decades, due to the application of the system’s general theory in the international relations, the concept of subordinate system has been introduced as an analytical concept which shows the constituent parts of the international system. According to Thompson, the necessary and sufficient conditions for the subordinate system are as follows: “A model of mutual relations among the players, in a way that a change in one point affects the other ones, the units’ proximity, and the internal and external witnesses recognizes it as a region”. Persian Gulf is the most important international waterway in which more than 50 percent of the world’s energy exists. And its neighboring countries (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman) involve approximately 10 percent of the 44-million square kilometers area of Asia.
On this account, the Persian Gulf subordinate system is classified into three basic sectors and in a sense this system is internally comprised of three central, peripheral, and intervening sectors. The central sector of the aforesaid system consists of a set of countries which have political, economical, and social similarities. Moreover, the organizational solidarity has practically distinguished them from other sectors and they have been organized in the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (Elahi, 1989: 125). The peripheral sector of the Persian Gulf subordinate system includes some countries which are omitted from the central sector due to some reasons related to political, economical, social, and organizational variables, however, they have a role in the Persian Gulf subordinate system because of their geographical position and they are practically effective in the regional discipline and in most cases, the central sector of subordinate system is formed in response to this effectiveness. In Persian Gulf, Iran and Iraq are among the countries which constitute the peripheral sector. The intervening sector is considered as one of the components of the Persian Gulf subordinate system. The intervening power is derived from the participation of the superior power of global system in the Persian Gulf subordinate system and the regional discipline. While the member nations of Persian Gulf Cooperation Council as the central sector and Iran and Iraq as the peripheral sector include the countries which are located inside the geographical domain, they are not the only countries which play role in the Persian Gulf subordinate system. In the subordinate systems in general, and in the Persian Gulf subordinate system in particular, the intervening power, i.e. the main power of the international system, play some roles in different periods and are practically known as one of the components of system’s regional discipline. (Simon, 1922: 84)
The dominant models of regional security:
The “regional security” consists of two words: “regional” and “security” (Patrik M., 2001: 40). Both words are complicated and there is no common acceptable definition for them. Maybe the best way to approach these issues is to comparison. So, regarding the great deal of theoretical problems which exist about these two words, only a logical definition can be introduced:”the regional security” is a set of all conceptions and interpretations about the national security which are used by the members of a regional system in a certain time. Thus, the regional security or insecurity can be derived from the level of conflicts in a region, the military credits, and the institutions and collective unions. (Eftekhari, 2002: 226) During the twentieth century, the governments regarded their close neighbors as the potential sources of threat. Focusing on these neighbors, they sought to form some rules and norms based on which could take a step in a specific regional set.
– The model of competitive realistic policy:
This model is based on the over and overt military threats. However, existence of such threats does not imply neglecting the sovereignty, national interest, and security concerns of other players. In this model, there is a multi-polar combination of countries which have indeterminate and sectional interest- and loss-based relations which may change during time. In this model, the logic of power balance is accepted and generally no country is regarded as permanent friend or enemy. There are different levels of common or contrasting interests for all countries, and the common aspects nearly allow all countries in any region to get united according to the current conditions. Generally, it seems that the traditional method of power balance or the model of competitive realistic policy can yield better results for management of the security issues in the following conditions:
– The countries have in part some common values and interests; hence they have similar definitions of national stability and security;
– The countries have confidence in the opposite side and they do not spoil the discipline under the guise of developing a specific set of values;
– The countries hold respect for the independent entity of other players;
– Existence of national or international movements and ideologies does not deny the central role of independent countries as the main player;
– The countries’ political priorities are logically predictable and constant in time, and this leads to establishment of trust.
The hegemonic model:
This model is designed based on the dominance of a set of countries’ interests on another group and the operational application of military and economic instruments for imposing the preventive policy. According to this model, the line of friends and enemies is clearly defined and separated. In other words, “the one who is not with us is against us.” This viewpoint reminds us of the mercantilism period in the 18th and 19th centuries in which the traditional unions provided the friends with joint security in the framework of protecting the sea pathways, international financial control, and the technological developments, and totally deprived the enemies from these privileges. Recently, this model is used to fight against the development of nuclear weapons and a unanimous approach exists to fight against the non-friend countries. This model includes prevention of technology transfer, prevention from their access to weapons of mass destruction, the exact or common directed weapons. In this model, the defense method depends on the anticipatory attacks and also the reactive actions, or in another words, full defense, prevention, and anticipatory attacks.
2. Collective participatory security:
The difference between “participatory security” and “unity” is that in unity the members are definitely not holding the same ideological beliefs, rather they have only agreed on not using force to solve the disagreements and based on this rule, they react against any violence. Basically, the objectives and duties of collective security can be expressed under three titles and sets: protection of peace and prevention of war outbreak, reviving peace and its return after being breached and destroyed and creating peace which is done following the prevention of war return, after its end (Friedman, 1996, 359). The participatory security tries to set the international behavior not only through preventing from the invaders, but also by changing the competitive nature of government’s interactions. In this kind of security, the peace is established through participation, or if necessary, through a punitive reaction and all members accept the responsibility of participating in a macro preventive threat, and if necessary, performing that threat. By the end of the cold war, the participatory security was introduced again as the potential basis for establishing the global and regional security, but it was not manifested since the big powers again disagreed on several important security issues.
. Consistent security:
According to Clifford Kupchan, a consistent system which only involves the big powers of the time is considered as a more practical system for a regional security structure. The members do not work cooperate due to the official commitment to react against invasion; rather, they use the non-official negotiations to solve the disagreements or crises (Asarian Nejad, Abdolah Khani, 2004:325).
4. Participatory security:
This model has a different view of international policy and its dominant central thinking includes the condition in which all countries can provide themselves with a relative security through accepting the mutual commitments about limiting the military capabilities. In this security system, not only the friends and allies are present, but also according to the participatory security it is supposed that the enemies will accept the same technical limitations for their behavior as the friends do. And this is possible despite the mutual lack of confidence. Also, it is supposed that these legal and technical limitations will result in the mutual advantages. In this model, the security guarantees will be created not through domination, but conversely through making those selections unacceptable, the selections which aim at dominating the opponents. In short, in the participatory security approach the security is increasingly defined as a collective property which is not divisible. This approach does not classify the countries as friend, ally, or enemy; however, the threats are equal against all players, and all partners seek a mutual security (Kraig, 2004).
5. Cooperation-based security:
Just like the common and comprehensive security, the cooperation-based security extends the concept of “security” beyond the traditional military concerns including the economic, social, and environmental ones. Besides, it tries to deepen the concept of mutuality of security. In this type of regional security, the governments tend to cooperate rather that compete with each other. The cooperation-based security tries to create some instruments to challenge against the lasting or new threats, to fight against the suspicions which lead to some political threats, and to reduce the barriers which were formed among the societies, governments, and countries following the colonial period, before the independence and the old war (Bilis, 2000: 86). The term “cooperation-based security” emphasizes on consultation more than conflict, confidence more than prevention, prevention more than punishment, transparency more than evasiveness and mutual dependence more than unilateralism.
The cooperation-based security is designed to facilitate the link among a broad range of political, economic, and social issues and it tries to establish confidence among the regional governments through discussion, cooperation, and agreement. The Arab countries should also understand that following an unsteady and conservative political approach will yield no result. Without a political coalition and a joint security treaty with the presence of all north- and south-coast countries, the Persian Gulf cannot experience a peaceful political life. The political and strategic space of Persian Gulf requires a new turning point in the current relations. Avoiding divergence is considered as a fundamental step to reduce the threats. The orientation and coalition are decisive for the national security of all regional countries.
The geopolitical position of Iran:
Geographically and culturally, Iran is the heart of Middle East. Iran’s cultural history compared to other countries of this region and its religious identity and also its political and practical capabilities has contributed to its considerable effectiveness in the region or even the global changes. Iran, as the communicative bridge between the east and west, has been under the spotlight of all the countries and civilizations from long time ago. This intercontinental communicative role and proximity with the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormoz, in which the oil shipment transit takes place, have increased the importance and effective role of Iran in the foreign observers’ view in a way that any political change in Iran makes the global sensitivities provoked.
“Among the most important features of this territory is its placement in a retaining region which lends it a prominent pathway role, a pathway among the world’s large continents, among several vast geographical domains, and among several old cultural areas.” (Heidari, 2005: 52) On one hand, the discovery of huge resources of fossil fuels in the bed of Persian Gulf and in the depth of the regional countries, and also the essential need of the industrial world to these resources have resulted in daily traffic of many ships holding fuel from the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormoz and this has changed the geopolitical position of Iran into a geostrategic position in the world, in a way that the interaction and adaptation the top geopolitical and geostrategic positions of Iran in this region have changed this country into one the important regions of the world. Hence, regarding the fundamental changes in the global economy, politics, and culture and also association of the societies and intricacy of the political and economic destiny of today’s human under the influence of globalization wave, the stimulation and reaction of the world’s countries toward the uncommon changes in the international system have increased. Thus, emphasizing on protection of the security and stability of the global system, any trivial event occurring anywhere in the world can leave widespread reflections. With regard to this fat and the prominent role of Iran in the recent regional changes and the international system, the changes relevant to Iran, whether at the national or international level, are closely followed by the big powers and other governments. Any concern regarding the possibility of any crisis creates some insecurity in the long seaways and particularly, the necessity of attending to the security of some basic points such as the Strait of Hormoz makes them to react. “This represents the fact that the world is constantly interested in the stability and security of Iran and it supports any effort made to achieve this goal” (Heidari, 2005: 54). What should be noted is the combination of multiple positions in the regional infrastructure for Iran which results in a eminent, sensitive, and at the same time, threatening situation for us. As was mentioned, this situation guarantees the economic growth, stability, and security on one hand, and entails the insecurity and instability of opportunities and capacities on the other hand.
Reviewing the disadvantages of global arrogance in the Persian Gulf:
In addition to removing Saddam Hussein, America also requires a new allusive threat against the security of the region. So, it maintains the appropriate ground for presence of its military in the region through preventing from the improvement of Iran’s relations with the Arab countries, which is vital for Iran’s economic development, and spreading an air of distrust among these nations. In this regard, it can justify its presence in the region for the neighboring countries through maintaining the stressful relation with Iran. However, this superiority in the Persian Gulf does not contribute to the global superiority of America” (Zolfaghari, 2005:12). According to Brzeinski, “it is necessary for all the countries of the Persian Gulf region to understand the important strategic fact that the United States will stay in Persian Gulf forever and the (energy) independence and security in the region are considered as the vital interests of America (Ranjbar, 1999: 174).
On the other hand, lack of domestic legitimacy, and as the result, the internal weakness of the south countries of the Persian Gulf and lack of their reliance on their nations lead to some damages to the regional countries. First, they eliminate the grounds for cooperation and convergence and then lead to the separation of countries and taking up position against each other. Second, they result in the presence of powerful countries to establish security and fill the vacuum of power in this region. Thus, sense of insecurity yields two very negative and long-lasting consequences on the regional economic growth and development:
1. Armaments race:
The armaments race is among other strategic issues faced by Iran in the region. This contest is the result of domination in the region. “The other effective element in this process is the fear of member nations of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council for the superiority of Iran’s military power following the damages incurred to the Iraqi army during the Persian Gulf War”. Although Iran’s military spending is far less than that of the neighboring countries of Persian Gulf, as the result of America’s advertisements, this sense of insecurity is at the top of America’s agenda. This sense of threat results in activation of the armaments race. “Participation in the armaments race is the most destructive factor to achieve political and economic development”.
2. Presence of the foreign forces for establishing security:
“In the Persian Gulf, the security and legitimacy of power domain are so dependent on the outside world that the transfer of power and the change in natures and identities depend on the international interests. Using the internal weakness, the outside factor exacerbates the disagreements, and forms the policy of the Middle East in accordance with the international interests, not the regional interest. The inconsistency among the political structures of eight countries in the Persian Gulf has the same effect on their foreign policy, the regional cooperation, and the security of the Persian Gulf”(Ranjbar,1999:175). So, the development of internal disagreements among the regional countries is one the most important factors of insecurity and the presence of America in the region.
Thus, the imposed security model is selected, i.e. America has replaced the double control policy with its traditional model which included the prevalence of power balance. Due to isolation of Iran from the regional equations, this policy is in favor of the America’s interests. In this regard, despite his disagreement with the double control policy of America, Brzeinski emphasizes that “the policy of America in the Persian Gulf should be based on maintaining the commitment and guarantee of security for the allies and protecting the oil process” (Brzeinski, 1909: 30). So, the subject of security in the Persian Gulf is a strategic one which is faced by America in the region.
Renovating the security approach in the Persian Gulf:
The event of 9/11th is regarded as the turning point of a new era in political, economic, and socio-cultural life of America in the international system. This event created a suitable opportunity for security role-playing of America so that it could deal with the theorization of the power-based policy and the restitution of the hegemony of America in the new space. From this perspective, if necessary, the military force and power can be used to improve the democracy. In this framework, regarding the fact that the domination of West on other powers has been made possible through applying the military and armed force, the United States is committed to continue fortifying its military power in order to achieve a strong and unchallengeable security margin.
Political-security presence and occupation of Iraq:
Although the official war of America with Iraq did not even last for one month, it had serious consequences and lasting effects and its stabilization process was broader and longer than a war (Yazdan Fam, 2004: 11). In this respect, one of the most important cases of America’s exploitations following the 9/11th in the Persian Gulf region included the imposition of more political and military pressures on Iraq’s government and finally, the collapse of Saddam Hussein under the pretext of fighting against the terrorism. Under such circumstances, in order to stabilize its political and economic dominance in the international areas, the United States determined and introduced some of the rebellious countries so that it could scrutinize their behavior and fight against them. In order to control the supposed enemies and under the name of some issues such as establishing democracy, reforms, and renovation, the policy of changing the regime changed into the main subject of America’s foreign policy.
The need to the oil resources and maintenance of fuel energy:
The supremacy of the American experts over Iraq’s oil domain has had inevitable benefits for America right from the first moments of Baath regime collapse. The domination on Iraq’s oil as the result of abundance of resources and also low expenses of production in this country allows America to benefit from this strategic means in confronting with the opponent countries in Asia, Africa, and even Latin America. The important point in this equation is that America does not need to tolerate the additional expense to the national general budget, since the oil production revenues in Iraq allows the politicians of the White House to exploit the underground resources of this country and in addition to stabilizing its own position in the international stages, it benefits from the advantage of oil in competing with its opponents (Safdari, 2004: 14).
– Development of liberalistic democracy in the security arrangements of the Persian Gulf region:
The United States tries to introduce the new Iraq as an appropriate model for democratization of the whole region of Persian Gulf and Middle East. The importance of Iraq implies that the current issues in this country can result in widespread consequences for other parts of the region. The decision of the NATO leaders in the Istanbul meeting on providing the Iraq’s new army with military trainings in order to establish stability is worthy of consideration. More time is required for the consultation about the role of new Iraq in the security arrangements of Persian Gulf region, and it directly relates to the success of new government in establishing discipline and peace in Iraq. There is little possibility for Iraq to be divided; however, if this division occurs, the security conditions will be changed all over the region, and the clarification of these conditions needs another chance (Asarian Nejad, 2005, 29).
– Introduction of the contradiction levels in new Iraq-Iran relations
The Islamic Republic of Iran is concerned with maintenance of insecurity and instability in its western neighbor. Iran’s relations with the future government of Iraq depend on several variables. The arrangement of political forces against Iran’s national security interests, presence of United States in Iraq, and influence of the regional policies of the White House on Iraq will all affect the type of relations between Iran and Iraq’s government. Increased presence of Shiites who are consistent with Iran in the future government of Iraq will result in more convergence between Iran and Iraq. Iran recommends the regional interests to Iraq, some interests which are opposite to the interests of other players in Iraq. In this case, the new Iraq is definitely not a threat against Iran’s territorial integrity. And hence the relations between Iran and the new government of Iraq will be formed based on the security arrangements of Dubai. These relations require passage of time and reflection to be described more precisely (Asarian Nejad, 2008: 174).
1- During the last two decades of the 20th century and the first years of the third millennium, several wars and conflicts have broken out in the Persian Gulf region, and what is certain is the collapse of a regime which was regarded as a threat for the regional security, a factor for changing the region into an arsenal, and a justification of the foreigners’ presence, and replacing it with a new government will affect on the regional security arrangements.
2- The Persian Gulf region has maintained its top and strategic position and still has the main portion of the world’s energy resources. The collapse of a regime which was the center of tension in the Persian Gulf region during a quarter of the last century will have an effect on the regional security arrangements. To achieve their goals and the interventions of the foreign players, contradictions of the internal groups bring some challenges for the new government of Iraq in establishing stability and peace. The level of security or insecurity in Iraq affects the process of policies and orientations of that country in the regional issues. If the insecurity and instability end in the new Iraq, this country cannot disrupt the joint regional security. The free and democratic Iraq can be a challenge against the oligarchy and non-democratic regimes of the Persian Gulf region. A stressful and unstable Iraq will have negative security consequences for the region.
3- The Persian Gulf region has an unbalanced power structure. In fact, this domain possesses a three-level structure. At first level, Iran is regarded as a top regional power with great human, technological, economic, and geographical resources. At second level, Iraq is considered as a regional power remained from the cold war period. However, with regard to its inherent potentials, it will return to the regional competition field in near future. At the third level, there is the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council with the leadership of Saudi Arabia. Among these three sets, Iran has the most importance. Also, Iraq and the Cooperation Council differ in some cases. Each of these three sets includes part of the regional power in the Persian Gulf. These powers are not consistent and the geographical structures of the Persian Gulf region differ from each other. In deep geopolitical variables such as understanding the geological position, the international system, the regional system, the national objectives, existence or non-existence of threat in the variables, these geographical structures can challenge the regional convergence and cooperation model. So, the visions and policies which seek a convergent model in the region should be able to find some ways to defeat the aforesaid forces and their divergent roles, or in other words, they should change their negative role and function into positive.
4- Regarding the review of the new Middle East approach with the centrality of America, it can be concluded that the attitude of America is basically against the rationalism and the Middle East and Persian Gulf are defined according its international security and benefits. So, in the bipolar system period, the Middle East was engineered based on controlling the influence of the Soviet and after the collapse of the soviet, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf were taken into account according the interests and threats of America’s global hegemony. This resulted in a situation in which the anti-rationalism security equations, such as atomization of the Middle East, and hence the bilateral and individual agreements and treaties with each of the countries in this region came under the spotlight; moreover, the Middle East as a geographical entity was constructed based on the international interests of America and Europe, so that in the bipolar periods, the Middle East was structured with the centrality of the Persian gulf and Damascus in order to negate the influence of Soviet. But, in the hegemonic periods some efforts were made to provide a new definition for the bigger Middle East with the presence of a main part of Islamic countries and adding Pakistan, Afghanistan, turkey, and a part of Caucasus and the Middle Asia.
– Iran, as the biggest country of Persian Gulf and one of the most important effective countries in the region, must determine its geopolitical significance in the global changing system through creating widespread links in relations with neighboring countries of Persian Gulf in geopolitical, geostrategic, and geo economic depth; besides, it should make it more efficient. The presence of America in Persian Gulf and the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq can improve the cooperation of Iran with the regional countries about the common interests, but in case of lack of cooperation and consistency, it will be the biggest threat against the security of Islamic Republic of Iran. With regard to the great role of Iran in the region, establishing friendly relations with Arabic countries is the best way to free Iran from the plight of isolation, which is followed by America. The friendly relations with these countries result in trust-making environment among the countries, confidence among the states leads to understanding of common interests and threats, and this understanding can provide some grounds for the Islamic Participation security treaty. Achieving the common grounds of an Islamic participation security treaty leads to the establishment of security by the regional countries and inefficiency of the external factors in the region. With regard to the geographical, economic, and strategic factors among all countries of the Persian Gulf, the most logical system for protecting the regional security is a system which involves all the coastal countries, without the participation of any other country. Our country, Iran, is in a condition in which the national unity, solidarity, authority, and pride are increasingly questioned by the opponents. The sensitive and pivotal position of Iran in the heart of the Islamic region can create both opportunities and catastrophes for our nation. If we cannot tactfully make the best use of these opportunities and the useful movements of some governments, some irretrievable distresses, concerns, and damages will occur to the Islamic participation in the region. In order to keep away from these damages, we should raise our awareness and act according to the Islamic-national interests through understanding the realities, facilities, and limitations.
Thus, firstly, the success or failure of any security arrangements of the Persian Gulf greatly depends on the structure, objectives, and the state of interaction among the members and also the mechanisms which are used for providing the participatory and Islamic security. Generally, in Persian Gulf, it is impossible to follow the dominant security model of the international space, or to gather the friend and agreeing countries and align against the non-friend nations, atheistic and hegemonic enemies.
Secondly, the dominant objectives in the Islamic-regional participation can be regarded as a suitable model for commencing the negotiation to reach the security arrangements of the Persian Gulf in which three goals are followed: developing confidence, developing the preventive diplomacy, and finding appropriate methods to solve the disagreements. In this model, the decisions are made carefully after extensive consultations. This model makes no attempt to impose a solution to the members. The confidence is established through consultation, negotiation, and transparency; and the bilateral or multilateral cooperation in the security issues develop consequently, gradually, and non-officially.
– The review of research indicates that the desirable model of Islamic Republic of Iran is a combination of pluralistic Islamic security society model and the power balance model. On this account, the center of gravity of the desirable model, i.e. the Islamic solidarity which is derived from the Islamic convergence discussion in Iran’s approach toward the regional security, completely matches the criterion of the security society model. Of its two hands, i.e. the superiority of Iran and the resistance, the superiority of Iran is in more harmony with the criterion of the power balance and following it, the resistance has a considerable harmony with the power balance model; moreover, the desirable model of Islamic Republic of Iran is a model of continuity and change. Of course, continuity does not imply the desirability of the current situation, rather the continuity is considered as the model’s realism factor and the change is regarded as its idealism factor.
Among the research findings about the desirable model of Islamic Republic of Iran and the models present in the Persian Gulf, it can be concluded that there is a gap between the current situation in which the power balance model is dominant, and the desirable condition of Islamic Republic of Iran which is based on the pluralistic Islamic security society. So first, the current situation is undesirable for both sides. Second, there is also a gap between the opponent’s approaches and models and the desirable model of Islamic Republic of Iran.
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1 Assistant Professor and Faculty Member of the University and Higher National Defense Research Institute..Mmahya1392@gmail.com