The international relations of the Middle East have long been dominated by uncertainty and conflict. External intervention, interstate war, political upheaval and interethnic violence are compounded by the vagaries of oil prices and the claims of military, nationalist and religious movements. The purpose of this book is to set this region and its conflicts in context, providing on the one hand a historical introduction to its character and problems, and on the other a reasoned analysis of its politics. In an engagement with both the study of the Middle East and the theoretical analysis of international relations, the author, who is one of the best known and most authoritative scholars writing on the region today, offers a compelling and original interpretation. Written in a clear, accessible and interactive style, the book is designed for students, policymakers, and the general reader.