Level of Education

Doctoral Graduate


This article analyzes the composition and disposition of Western-style reform efforts within Saudi Arabia and Iran (the Middle East's premiere rivalry) and argues that several current and prominent US policy efforts and actions, that appear to enjoy widespread support, actually frustrate reform efforts in each country and perpetuate the unstable status quo. Focusing the analysis from a historical and religious lens, the article uses historical sources, coupled with an analysis of current events and modern theories on change dynamics to make the argument. As tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia (and the US) continue to escalate and compel US military and diplomatic attention, the ideas offered in this article aim to provide strategic leaders with additional (and in some cases “counter-”) perspectives to guide decisions and actions regarding this sensitive, but enduring national security issue. This article is for the practitioner and decision-maker who believes that the proliferation of US economic and liberal democratic values represent the best chance for bringing stability to the Middle East.