Saudi Arabia & Iran: Friends or Foes. Kaynoush, Banafsheh. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, 280.


The US influence on the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran plays a role so inherent that it becomes impossible to analyze their ties outside its jurisdiction. There has evolved a need to look over their ties without the constant partaking of the US as a potent force. This perspective, as a basis for a profound analysis, has been used by Banafsheh Keynoush in her book titled,Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes? The theme of this book revolves around the troubled ties between the two countries and the strategic importance of their relationship for the Middle Eastern region. It uses historical and chronological patterns of discourse to analyse the bilateral relations. In order to fully grasp the core of their rapport, it is pertinent to look towards the various power shifts that these civilizations went through.

Intrinsically, according to the Balance of Power Theory, both Iran and Saudi Arabia are on a perfectly destined trajectory. Securing their respective strategic interests have been as important as gauging their weaknesses. The book presents a sequential analysis of how the relations between the two countries have evolved over the time. The writer takes the reader through the historical course of events from ‘Nixonian Twin Pillars’ to the contemporary falling of these two countries. However, an incredibly balanced and objective approach has been utilized to navigate through the events that transpired leading to the current state of affairs between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Upon further observation, the points of friction between the two become more prominent which have been aptly described by the author in the first chapter. The ambiguity of the decision-making process in both countries and prevalence of mistrust in the general masses have also been pointed out as the reasons for the lack of trust within the two states. The role of the leaders is also quite significant as the monarchs in both countries have always remained under the heavy influence of external factors in play.

Read More