Saudi Arabia and Iran

The struggle to shape the Middle East

Edited by Simon Mabon and Edward Wastnidge

Saudi Arabia and Iran


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5082-0
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: October 2022
  • BIC Category: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Politics, International relations, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Middle Eastern, HISTORY / Middle East / Arabian Peninsula, HISTORY / Middle East / Iran, Society & social sciences / International relations, Middle East, International Relations
  • Series: Identities and Geopolitics in the Middle East


Since 1979, the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran - the two major powers in the Muslim world - has played a prominent role in shaping Middle Eastern politics. Political in nature yet couched in Islamic rhetoric, this rivalry reflects a desire to ensure regime security and legitimacy while also increasing influence across the Middle East. Since the 2003 Iraq War, the relationship has become increasingly vitriolic, resulting in the emergence of proxy conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. This book argues that to understand regional politics, comprehension of the rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran is essential.


Introduction - Simon Mabon and Edward Wastnidge
1 The view from Riyadh: a neoclassical realist perspective of Saudi foreign policy toward Iran in the post-2011 Middle East - May Darwich
2 Narratives of power politics in the Iran-Saudi relationship: the view from Tehran - Banafsheh Keynoush and Edward Wastnidge
3 Competing Islams: religious legitimacy and the foreign policies of Saudi Arabia and Iran - Lucia Ardovini
4 The Iran-Saudi Arabia rivalry: rekindling of Shi'a Loyalty and Sunni' fears in Bahrain - Rashed al-Rasheed
5 Iraq and the evolution of Saudi-Iranian relations - Stephen Royle and Simon Mabon
6 The irreplaceable piece: Lebanon's strategic value in the Saudi-Iranian foreign policy chessboard - Hussein Kalout
7 Capability and culpability: Iranian and Saudi rivalry in the Syria conflict - Christopher Phillips
8 Delegation or intervention: Yemen as a theatre for the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia - Maria-Louise Clausen
9 Conclusion - Edward Wastnidge and Simon Mabon


Edward Wastnidge is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at the Open University

Simon Mabon is Chair of International Politics at Lancaster University

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