modest body of shared interests, toward which regional states can agree to work; 4) erode exclusionary barriers that inflame suspicions and drive states toward planning for worst-case scenarios; 5) develop habits of intraregional cooperation, upon which more ambitious efforts to increase regional stability can subsequently be built (Winner, 2003).
They conclude that what the Persian Gulf needs is a series of overlapping bilateral and multilateral relationships, with the newest element being a mutually reinforcing network of linkages among all the Persian Gulf states, including Iran and Iraq. So they believe that ASEAN [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] Regional Forum (ARF), could serve as a model for a vehicle for dialogue on regional security issues in the Persian Gulf (Winner, 2003).
However, the Persian Gulf has its characteristics and needs a security arrangement based on its history and states and ASEAN and other such forums cannot be useful and helpful for this region. Anyway, other security arrangements can be a sample for this region but not as a prescription. On the other hand, McMillan, Sokolsky and Winner (2003) believe a new regional security architecture is only one element of a broader security arrangement for the Persian Gulf region and this order will continue to require a significantly revamped U.S. military presence, bilateral security arrangements between Washington and some Persian Gulf states, a robust U.S. capability to project power, and Persian Gulf state initiatives to promote good governance.
Andrew Rathmell, Theodore Karasik, David Gompert, et.al (2003) outline the disadvantages to the United States and to the region of today’s heavy dependence on a forward U.S. military presence and readiness to fight increasingly risky expeditionary wars. They believe that two alternative models for the Persian Gulf, a unilateral U.S. attempt to impose liberal democracy or a return to balance-of-power approach, will not work. Instead, a multilateral U.S. – European effort to build an intra-regional balance of power, by broad political reform around the Persian Gulf, could lay the basis for long-term stability.(Rathmell, Karasik, & Gompert, 2003)
Rathmell, Karasik and Gompert (2003) point to the past attempts of the United States to build a Persian Gulf security after withdrawal of Great Britain in 1971 and believe the Nixon Doctrine of Twin Pillars policy that the United States used involving the twin pillars of Iran and Saudi Arabia to ensure stability and to contain threats to the status quo, the U.S. strategy of relying on Iraq and the Persian Gulf states after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and Dual Containment Policy for containing Iran and Iraq, were not successful. Subsequently, and the United States shifted from reliance on regional friends to an even more muscular forward presence (Rathmell et al., 2003)
Rathmell, Karasik and Gompert (2003) suggest two options for a post-war Persian Gulf security system that could form the basis for a redesign of the region: 1) Radical political transformation (leaping head to the 1920s): the democratizing vision will enable countries across the region to defuse domestic dissent and become productive members of the international community. But undemocratic Arab rulers are naturally frightened by this vision of democracy; 2) Second choice is leaping back to the 1970s toward the twin-pillars approach that is a more pragmatic model for a post-war Persian Gulf security system, this time relying on the GCC and Iraq. This model is unlikely to succeed because the past three decades have not resolved some of the underlying issues of Persian Gulf insecurity and because recent changes have made life more challenging (Rathmell et al., 2003).
Finally, these scholars at the end of their analysis conclude that no single paradigm will be sufficient to build a Gulf security system (Rathmell et al., 2003). Instead, a Persian Gulf security system needs to be constructed from three interlocking elements: Balance of power, reform of the region’s defense structures, and multilateralism that the United States and the EU need to partner in this process. Only such a combination will provide both the progress and the stability needed for enduring security.
Mraz (1997) in a different perspective, expresses three broad policy options for shaping a policy for the Persian Gulf: First, continuing the policy of Dual Containment, engaging Iran or Iraq, or both, seeking or supporting a change in the regimes of Iran and Iraq (M. J. L. Mraz, 1997) Mraz explains the advantages and disadvantages of these policies and in the end he believes that the United States should pursue a more active policy of engagement and enlargement. “The first method of engagement should be commercial. America must find some common ground with Iran. U.S. policy, which recognizes that Iran and Iraq are less of a threat if they are engaged, will be the greatest contributor in achieving our strategic interest in the region” (M. J. L. Mraz, 1997).
Saeed Taeb and Hossein Khalili (2008) two Iranian scholars present three Strategic Scenarios for security building in the Persian Gulf region: a) Formation of a security arrangement in the region encompassing the eight coastal states anchored in a joint security solution against the U.S. policies. They believe such an assumption if enacted, could be the most desirable and ideal model for the regional states, especially Iran. However, in the existing regional and international circumstances, the chance for such a convergence is slim (Saeed Taeb & Khalili, 2008).
b) Second Strategic Scenario Assumption: The security structures of the Persian Gulf coastal states devised by the U.S. They believe this scenario dates back to a 1970s strategy and follows the Nixon doctrine which is based on the policy of “balance of power” and reducing U.S. military presence in the region. Such a plan could in the short-run hoard the region from the present crisis; help the US have a face-saving retreat from Iraq; and limit U.S. presence to fewer bases but they believe even such a plan has its own challenges (Saeed Taeb & Khalili, 2008).
c) Third Strategic Scenario Assumption: Forming a “security partnership arrangement” on the basis of traditional values and practices that is compatible with the people’s norms and governments across the Persian Gulf waterway, and independent of the strategic U.S. policies. If regional states reach that extent of intellectual maturity, they could constructively interact in economic cooperation and through confidence building measures, and the region could move toward convergence and establishment of a joint security system in order to reduce the existing tensions and make optimum use of the Western intellectual/technological potentials. Taeb and Khalili (2008) believe that such a scenario is the wisest strategy in the present circumstances simply because a joint security solution also has a steady tendency toward regional order and security plus fulfillment of security in different spheres and angles as its ultimate goal (Saeed Taeb & Khalili, 2008).
Marcy Agmon (1993) in a report “Post cold war U.S security strategies for the Persian Gulf” presents four representative security alternatives for the Persian Gulf: 1) Saudi defense independence; 2) U.S-Saudi security condominium; 3) all Arab defense of the Persian Gulf; 4) U.S as disengaged balancer but none of these four security alternatives invite the participation in a security pact of all members of the Persian Gulf region including Iran and Iraq but it has been asserted that the exclusion of specific regional states from Persian Gulf security arrangements would polarize the region, exacerbate tensions, and make resolution of existing disputes more difficult.
۲.۵ Iran’s Persian Gulf policy
Iran, with a population of over 70 million is among the largest countries in the Middle East. It possesses vast lands and extended sea borders in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea region. Iran produces 4.2 million barrels of oil per day. It’s proven oil reserves stand at around 132.5 billion barrels (over 11percent of the world’s reserves). In addition, the country has around 27.50 billion cubic meters of natural gas [15.3percent of the world’s proven natural gas reserves] (Lotfian, 2007-08). Estimates indicate that the total volume of the world’s exploitable crude oil is about 1200.7 billion barrels. However, Iran has 138.22 billion barrels of hydrocarbon fossils that or 11.4 percent of the world’s reserves and with a production of 4.343 million barrels per day, Iran shares 5.1percent of global crude output (Simbar & Ghorbani, 2011, pp. 95-96).
Focusing on Iran’s ambitions toward the Persian Gulf shows that lack of security is a main motivation of Iran to persuade a new security system for the