During the last two decades, Turkey’s security strategy in the Middle East has been directed by ruling domestic actors, in particular President Erdogan and the AKP party. Over the years, the AKP party has managed to increase its influence in the country’s state apparatus, formerly dominated by the Kemalist secular establishment.
Middle East/North Africa
Israel ́s security strategy in the Middle East is predominantly influenced by the Prime Minister, the Israeli government and the Ministry of Defence as the main actors. These domestic players are sensitive to the country’s public opinion. Foreign actors with a direct impact on the state ́s security strategy are both its allies (USA, Russia) and its adversaries (Iran, Syria, Lebanon and their proxies).
Turkey’s economic strategy in the Middle East has mainly been export-oriented, coupled with its ambitious diplomatic regional agenda. SMEs known as ‘’Anatolian Tigers’’ have been instrumental for this strategy. Nevertheless, the EU remains its primary trade partner.
Iran’s security strategy in the Middle East has mainly been directed by ruling domestic actors, mostly conservative political leadership led by Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Mentioned actors represent a leading force behind the Shia Crescent that stretches through allied territories with presence of Hezbollah and Houthis as well as Shia-led regimes in Iraq and Syria. The crucial determinants of Iran’s security strategy have been both domestic, such as Khomeinism and related spread of the Islamic revolution across the region, and external, such as Sunni-Shia rivalry, Iran-Israel proxy war, or strengthening the role of Russia and Turkey.
Saudi Arabia’s economy system is heavily focused on the state ownership of the main oil, gas, telecommunication and electricity companies in the country. Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is the ultimate ruler, who has launched a bold project called Vision 2030 to drive the country out of the oil dependence by creating a new future based on economy diversification and services. Crucial companies which get the largest amount of Saudi Arabia’s revenues are Saudi Aramco, SABIC, Saudi Electricity Company, Ma’aden, Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority
Iran’s economic strategy in the Middle East has mainly been directed by oil and gas industry. In this sense, the most influential actors are the NIOC and IRGC-controlled businesses within Iran and various foreign gas and oil companies abroad. The main competitor has been Saudi Arabia, supported by other Sunni monarchies except Qatar as well as the US. On the other hand, relatively good and business-oriented ties exist with China, Qatar, and Russia. Furthermore, Iran’s economic strategy has largely been determined by Western-imposed sanctions, thus giving a significant power to non-petroleum businesses with domestic charitable trusts (bonyads), bazaaris, and black market being of high importance for the country’s general economic strategy. Being isolated by many Western actors, Iran’s main economic partners have become Asian countries such as China, India, Japan, and South Korea – all being important mostly because of gas and oil exports.
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