In a conversation with Marc Lynch, F. Gregory Gause III discusses the relative stability of oil regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, noting the importance of countries’ willingness to spend oil money and maintain patronage networks.
Gause also says he believes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to be stable, but that the country’s foreign policy extends beyond what it is comfortable with. Describing the KSA as “bullish” on stability, Gause says if the country was going to face significant unrest, it would have done so in 2011. Yet the KSA’s recent interventionist tendencies, and its unprecedented generational shift in leadership, implicate change is forthcoming, although it is unlikely to be destabilizing.
In his conclusion, Gause notes there is an immediate academic, theoretical, and policy need to chart and follow what has happened in the region over the last few years. He maintains there is still very little work being completed on Middle East international relations.
[Trump has] given Iran the moral high ground and that is an exceptionally difficult thing to do given the history and reality of Iran's misdeeds at home and in the region. It's just malpractice on the part of an American president.
The way the Trump administration is moving forward [with its Iran policy] is just so hostile to all aspects of Iran that it’s unlikely to produce any traction with the Iranian people or to encourage divisions within the system.
The intent of [any U.S. action] to do with the IRGC is basically to cast a very broad shadow over sectors of the Iranian economy and exacerbate the compliance nightmare for foreign businesses that may be considering trade and investment with Iran.