Since Iran has a vital role in the region, the result of the study will improve the position of Iran in U.S. policies toward Iran’s role in the region. If Iran participates in the security arrangements, the region can achieve more stability and peace.
Although there are sporadic studies on the issue of regional security in the Persian Gulf area, and a growing member of studies on the historical background of the Persian Gulf, the importance of this study rests upon the fact that there has been no serious attempt to conduct this type of study on the basis of internal (local) security arrangements in the Persian Gulf region that involve all 8 states in this area. The findings from this investigation, will serve as a foundation for further similar researches on regional security in the Persian Gulf area.
Security has been always at the core of political attentions for the countries because national interests of each country directly depend on its security position and definition of great powers such as U.S.A toward the concept of security affect security of many countries. So the purpose of this study is to understand the role of external powers such as U.S.A in the regional security arrangements in the Persian Gulf and to understand the success and failure of these approaches. On the other hand, the significance of such studies can lead some benefits for global peace process and war prevention for this region because it is easier to prevent than to end the conflicts by participation of all states in regional collective security in the Persian Gulf area.
This study will help students and political thinkers better understand the theoretical and crucial issues concerning security approaches and regional security. It is obvious that many studies have been conducted in this field but this study will show the importance of the collective security approach instead of balance of power approach that U.S. as an external power emphasizes.
The results of this research would also be relevant to the work of some policy makers in designing strategies, making plans and decisions and formulating policies for achieving the main objectives of the security projects. Additionally, the result of this study could also provide some keys to security researches in formulating specific approaches for further researches in the field of security approaches.
Both regional and external powers recognize the importance of Persian Gulf security for the continued growth of the global economic system because the Persian Gulf region is currently estimated to contain approximately 63.3percent of the world’s reserves of crude oil and 33.3percent of its natural gas.(Chapman & Khanna, 2004) The world is projected to grow more independent on oil supplies from the region. This dependence has been threatened by internal and external challenges to the Persian Gulf. Therefore, energy security in the Persian Gulf is important for the global economy and this study can help in the planning for a stable security for global energy and global economy.
۱.۷ Scope and limitation of the study
This study will focus on the United States security policies regarding Iran in the Persian Gulf. The focus of this study is on the period from 1979 to 2008. The reason for selection of this period of time is because Occurrence of the Islamic Revolution in Iran was in 1979 and it was a milestone in the Iran – US relationship. Also the reason for choosing 2008 was that it was the end of the Gorge W. Bush administration and beginning of president Obama’s presidency. For the purpose of analysis of the terms and conditions for creating a new and viable security structure for the Persian Gulf region, the benchmark moment is 1979. This is because the Persian Gulf and the broader Middle East had not provided any significant shocks to the system of regional security since the 1950s, the time of the early Arab Revolution and its manifestations in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. Iran’s transformation, through its Islamic Revolution, from a country supportive of U.S. security objectives in the Persian Gulf region into an anti-US country both strategically and ideologically potentially had significant impact on the U.S. position and role in the region (Hunter, 2010, p. 42). This period was specifically chosen because the overthrow of the Monarchy in Iran in 1979 changed the balance of power in the Persian Gulf region and led to the collapse of the twin pillars policy of Nixon-Kissinger (Nixon’s Doctrine) and the emergence of a new regime in Iran that was at odds with the U.S. policies in the region.
In spite of the limitations of the subject of study on security in the Persian Gulf, which is one of the most important strategic regions in the world, the result of this research – the discovery and understanding of the reasons of insecurity in the Persian Gulf region after the Islamic Revolution in Iran – will provide the appropriate responses to some of the problems pertaining the peace and security of the Persian Gulf region.
This research is especially focused on the U.S. policies regarding Iran in the Persian Gulf area, and not other countries or regions because it is an extended subject and this thesis can not involve them. Although there will be related cross references made sometimes to other related countries (such as GCC states) and issues (such as GCC activities) in the course of this thesis.
۱.۸ Theoretical Framework
The relationships between the agency, process, and social structure in the social theories are the basis of all the theories in studying social and political phenomena. Generally, theories help to find the most fruitful set of questions and the ways of answering them and the strategies that researchers undertake to explain deep changes occurring in social and political phenomena. They specify the questions on the subjects of research and show the way the research should follow to answer those questions (Wendt, 1999).
The Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT) that its founded by Professor Barry Buzan is aimed to provide a relationship between the penetration of the US in the region and rivalries of the local states. Barry Buzan (۲۸ April 1946) is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the LSE and honorary professor at the University of Copenhagen and Jilin University. Until 2012 he was Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. Buzan sketched the Regional Security Complex Theory and is therefore together with Ole Wæver a central figure of the Copenhagen School.
According to Barry Buzan, the original definition of a security complex was: “a group of states whose primary security concerns link together sufficiently closely that their national securities cannot reasonably be considered apart from one another” (B. Buzan, 1983). Buzan and Waver in 1998 in their book reformulated the above definition of RSCT to shed the state-centric and military-political focus and to rephrase the same basic concept for the possibility of different actors and several sectors of security: “a set of units whose major processes of securitization, desecuritisation, or both are so interlinked that their security problems cannot reasonably be analyzed or resolved apart from one another” (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003, p. 44).
One of the purposes of RSCT is to combat the tendency to overstress the role of the great powers, and to ensure that the local factors are given their proper weight in security analysis. For example in the Persian Gulf region local factors are interaction between government and nation inside of each eight states that can have its role on the regional level between the states in the region. The standard form for an RSC is a pattern of rivalry, balance-of power, and alliance patterns among the main powers within the region: to this pattern can then be added the effects of penetrating external powers. Normally, the pattern of conflict stems from factors indigenous to the region – such as, in the Middle East – and outside powers cannot usually define, desecuritise, or reorganise the region (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003, pp. 46-47)
Regional security complex is not just a perspective that can be applied to any group of countries. In order to qualify as a complex, a group of states or other entities must possess a degree of security interdependence sufficient both to establish them as a linked set and to differentiate them from surrounding security regions (Khalilzad 1984: preface).
The theory specifies what to look for at four levels of analysis:
۱. Domestically in the states of the region, particularly their domestically generated vulnerabilities (is the state strong or weak due to stability of the domestic order and correspondence between state and nation);
۲. state-to-state relations (which generate the region as