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Political Violence And Stability In The States Of The Northern Persian Gulf
by Daniel Byman And Jerrold Green
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Political violence threatens the lives of U.S. soldiers and the stability of U.S. allies throughout the world. This report examines the threat of political violence in the Persian Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates
From the Publisher
Political violence-terrorism and politically motivated killings ordestruction intended to advance a political cause-has taken thelives of hundreds of U.S. soldiers and civilians in the Middle East inthe 1980s and 1990s, and remains a serious threat for the comingdecades. Its dangers go beyond lost lives: Political violence cancreate a climate of unrest in a critical region, leading once-stablecountries such as Lebanon and Algeria to descend into an inferno ofstrife and civil war. In 1995 and 1996, terrorist attacks in SaudiArabia killed 24 U.S. soldiers, and the possibility for further violenceremains real. These terrorist attacks also raise a broader threat to thesecurity of the U.S. regional presence and the stability of arearegimes. In a worst-case scenario, terrorists also might act in conjunctionwith regional aggressors, helping them strike behind the lines of U.S. allies and impeding a U.S. military buildup.This report assesses the threat of political violence in the northernPersian Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the UnitedArab Emirates. It examines general sources of discontent in the Gulf,common reasons for anti-regime politicization, potential triggers ofviolence, and the influence of foreign powers. The report then assessesthose strategies that regimes in the area have used to interferewith political organization and to counter violence in general. Thereport concludes by noting implications of political violence for boththe United States and its allies in the Gulf.This assessment is intended to inform both policymakers and individualsconcerned with Persian Gulf security. Policymakers can draw on the assessment in judging how to better protect U.S. forces and tounderstand the true level of threat to Gulf regime stability. This research was conducted for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict/Policy Planning) within the Center for International Security and Defense Policy of RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.
About the Author
Daniel L. Byman (Ph.D., political science, M.I.T.) is a policy analyst at RAND whose research interests include modeling ethnic conflict, assessing Middle East politics and security issues, developing countermeasures against terrorism, reevaluating air power theory, and other general issues related to U.S. foreign policy.
Jerrold Green (PhD, Political Science, University of Chicago) is Associate Chair, Research Staff Management Department; a Senior Political Scientist; and Director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy. Research interests and activities include U.S. Foreign Policy, Middle East Politics, Sociopolitical Change in Developing Countries, Impact of the Information Revolution, Terrorism and Political Violence, and Mediterranean Security.
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