Cold War in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Iran

This course will consider the rivalry between the two most powerful countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Iran, as a kind of contemporary “cold war” stretching into the 21st century. We will examine the Saudi-Iranian relationship from the end of WWI up to the present day, with attention to the ways it has destabilized the region and affected US foreign policy. Topics will include the formation of Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the evolving regional balance of power; the role of oil in regional and global politics; revolutionary movements from the 1950s into the 21st century; American diplomatic, economic, and military engagement in the Middle East; and the ways that state ties to terrorism factor into religious and political rivalries. We will also discuss how the centuries-old Sunni-Shia rivalry is one of the driving forces of contention between Saudi Arabia and Iran, contributing to conflict in countries like Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. 

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Knowledge of the key sources of conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia
  • Deeper understanding of regional politics in the Middle East

Ideal for

  • Those with an interest in contemporary politics and political history
  • Anyone seeking deeper knowledge of current events
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.