Abstract: Despite the emphasis typically placed on ideational and identity-based factors within the Middle East, realist theory remains the most effective conceptual lens through which to analyze the region. The purpose of this analysis is to develop a realist conceptual framework through which to analyze the Middle East in the post-2011 Arab Uprisings context. In doing so, this research examines realist policies utilized by both regional and extra-regional powers, as well as the role(s) played by Islam and sectarian sentiments and rhetoric within the overall realist calculus of state actors. Rather than constructing policies based off of ideational or identity-based variables, this study argues that these elements are instead utilized and manipulated in an actor’s ultimate pursuit for the foundational pillars of realism: power and security.
Keywords: Middle East, Realism, International Affairs, Arab Uprising, Security
About the Author: Jon Hoffman received a B.A. in Global Affairs with a concentration in the Middle East and North Africa from George Mason University in May 2018. He is currently an intern at Red Five Security Consulting and the Arab Studies Institute (ASI), and formerly interned at the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).