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Saudi-Iranian Relations Since the Fall of Saddam Rivalry, Cooperation, and Implications for U.S. Policy
By: Frederic Wehrey, Theodore W. Karasik, Alireza Nader, Jeremy Ghez, Lydia Hansell, Robert A. Guffey
RAND Corporation 2009 | 156 Pages | ISBN: 9780833046574 | PDF | 1.1 MB
The often tense relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran has been at the center of many of the major political shifts that have occurred in the Middle East since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. This volume documents a study of how relations between the two powers have unfolded in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine from 2003 through January 2009. Wehrey et al. detail the complex and multidimensional relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran and its implications for regional stability and U.S. interests. In doing so, the authors challenge conventional thinking about Saudi-Iranian relations, arguing, for example, that Sunni-Shi'a distinctions are not the key driver in dealings between the two nations, that the two states have a tendency to engage on areas of common interest, and that the notion of a watertight bloc of Gulf Arab states opposing Iran is increasingly unrealistic. The study concludes with U.S. policy recommendations for leveraging the Saudi-Iranian relationship, particularly in the context of a U.S. drawdown in Iraq, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the Iranian nuclear issue.