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Arms and influence in Saudi Arabia/United States relations, 1973-1983

Ishgi, Mohomed H

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Mohomed H Ishgi


This thesis investigates empirically the realist argument that the United States arms transfers produced political influence on Saudi Arabia's foreign policy behaviour between 1973 and 1983. Within six chapters I set out the conditions and interaction of certain variables which map the contours implied in my title.
In my Introduction I set out the aims, purposes and sources of the thesis. Against realism as purely a power model, I provide a reading of politics adequate to reality entailing flexibility of understanding and judgment by decision-makers.
Chapter One applies the model to foreign-policy analysis. Turning to influence, I argue that it is as much a pattern of historical relations between states as a pattern of synchronic inter-state relations. The arms/influence problem is determined within a national interest centred concept of foreign policy.
Chapter Two brings us to the main empirical material. Here I examine four dimensions of the arms transfer process from the supply side, (i) motives, (ii) legal instruments, (iii) the due process involved in pre-1973, (iv) the nature of the historical relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia pre-1973. Chapter Three performs a similar analysis, but for the post-1973 period. The three arms sales are introduced.
Chapters Two and Three concentrate on the supply side, Chapters Four and Five take also into account the demand side. I review the historical development of Saudi security policy in terms of internal and regional problems. The last section details the military and strategical impact of the three major arms deals on Saudi security.
Chapter Five relates the supply side to the demand side, showing that despite the three major arms deals, Saudi Arabia has not co-operated automatically with US expectations. This lack of cooperation shows the basic incoherence in the US arms policy, especially in the Reagan era. This incoherence is not so much between Executive and Legislature, as the executive's belief in a direct relation of arms to influence, even though there is no adequate correlation.
The conclusion argues that the 'crude realism' of the US executive - arms procures influence directly - has to be more flexible in US/Saudi Arabian arms relations. The US decision-makers need a greater flexibility of approach and understanding, and a more sophisticated grasp of the Saudi Arabian/US arms relation.


Ishgi, M. H. (1987). Arms and influence in Saudi Arabia/United States relations, 1973-1983


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