1st Edition

Overlapping Regional Orders in the Middle East and North Africa Norms and Social Practices of Foreign Behaviour

By Jordi Quero Copyright 2024

    Focused on a set of overlapping international orders of regional scope present in the Middle East and North Africa, this book argues that rules and primary institutions have sanctioned the foreign behavior of the sub-system’s international actors since 1945.

    The author avoids recent IR trends focused on narrow case studies, instead providing a comprehensive overview of the MENA’s regional politics. The normative content and evolution of multiple international orders are examined, constituting the intra-Arab order, the Arab-Israeli order and the Arab-Iranian order, as well as the expression of the global order in regional interactions. Drawing on Area Studies and English School and constructivist IR theories, the author argues that a plurality of overlapping regional orders have coexisted since 1945, not just one as is commonly suggested in the literature. Each of these orders is integrated by different participants and has developed its own differentiated norms and institutions setting parameters on legitimate behavior. This analytical proposal helps make sense of foreign relations otherwise labeled as incoherent.

    The book has wide appeal, accessible both to students wishing to learn about the politics, history and sociology of the Middle East, as well as to specialists seeking original research on the functioning of the MENA’s regional orders.

    Introduction  1. International Order in the Middle East and North Africa Regional System  2. The Intra-Arab Order and Its Primary Institutions  3. "Balancing Politics" as Primary Institution of the Intra-Arab Order  4. "Proxy Wars" and "Controlled Crisis" as Primary Institutions of the Intra-Arab Order  5. The Arab-Israeli Order and Its Primary Institutions  6. The Arab-Iranian Order and Its Primary Institutions  7. The Global Order and Normative Syncretism in the MENA Sub-System  8. The Regional Order since 2011: The "Arab Uprisings" as a Turning Point?  Conclusions


    Jordi Quero is a Lecturer in International Relations and the Director of the MSc in Diplomacy and International Organizations at the University of Barcelona’s CEI International Affairs. He holds a PhD in International Law and IR from University Pompeu Fabra. His research interests include the international politics of the Middle East and the theory of IR.

    "In a region most frequently associated with conflict, violence and disorder, Jordi Quero’s use of the concept of 'order' to interpret the international relations of the Middle East is all the more intriguing and thought-provoking. International Relations theories and approaches, such as the English School, are skilfully employed to show how the overlapping intra-Arab, Arab-Israeli and Arab-Iranian orders frame and explain relations between state and non-state actors. This excellent study traces the formation of norms of interaction and, at times, cooperation and coordination, from 1945 until the 2011 Arab uprisings and beyond."

    Katerina Dalacoura, Associate Professor in International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom

    "By drawing on insights from the English School and Constructivist traditions in IR theory, this study of the plurality of regional orders succeeds impressively in challenging some of the prevalent but debatable assumptions about the exceptional, intrinsic conflictual, and complex nature of Middle East international relations. It convincingly demonstrates how IR theory is relevant to the Middle East, while also highlighting how insights from the region can refine our general understanding of different forms of international order."

    Morten Valbjørn, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, Denmark