ABSTRACT

Chapter 7 lays out the broader picture, identifies common threads running through four case studies, and concludes with a synthesis of the previous chapters. First the analysis in this book clearly establishes that roles are not static conceptualizations as they were thought to be in earlier works in the literature. They change over time. Arab uprisings have caused such domestic and regional upheavals that all four major powers of the MENA region had to change their foreign policy role conceptualizations. Second, the framework that has been used in this study, aiming to expose both material and ideational sources of foreign policy has proved successful. Especially in a region like the Middle East where religious and ethnic identities determine most people’s political choices, the analysis of ideational factors has proved fruitful. The importance of faith-based roles in foreign policies of the four major countries was emphasized by the analysis. Particularly for Iran and Saudi Arabia, the importance of faith-based roles was apparent during the Arab uprisings. Although Egyptian policy-makers during President Morsi’s tenure showed faith-based orientation in foreign policy discourse, post-coup Egypt seems to have reverted to its traditional approach. Turkey’s role conceptions and actual foreign policy towards the region have changed drastically, moving also more towards faith-based roles. For all four powers, post-uprisings roles are more ambitious and assertive than the preceding period. The analysis also reveals that each of the four major powers has experienced domestic role contestation and international role conflict with varying degrees. In other words, foreign policy role and action change have come with a significant cost. Policy implications of the analysis concludes the book.