Lecture abstract: In recent years, the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East has been frequently evoked as Iran successfully pursued a nuclear enrichment program. In this paper I make the point that, in the case of the six Arab monarchies of the GCC, the possibility that they will start to develop an indigenous nuclear program is remote. In fact, further progress of the Iranian nuclear program is likely to nudge the GCC states in the direction of strengthening their longstanding security link with the United States. This conclusion will be based on an analysis of the rationale behind the structure of the GCC states’ militaries and an assessment of the balance of threat in the Gulf.
Speaker Bio: Matteo Legrenzi teaches at the School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa. He has published several scholarly articles on the GCC and on the international politics of the Gulf as well as writing a column on Middle East Politics for the Italian Journal “Il Mulino”. He recently edited “Beyond Regionalism? Regional Cooperation, Regionalism and Regionalization in the Middle East” Ashgate (2008) and he is the author of the forthcoming “The GCC and the International Relations of the Gulf: Diplomacy, Security and Economy Coordination in a Changing Middle East” I.B.Tauris (2008). His current research deals with mutual threat perceptions in the Gulf and the feasibility of establishing an alternative security architecture there.