Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

First Advisor

Shulman, Stephen


This research examines the relationship between grand power strategies of revisionism and status quoism and behavior toward failed states in the Middle East. This research is driven by four interrelated questions: Do the grand strategies determine the behavior of regional powers (expansion or non-expansion) toward failed states? Do revisionist powers expand while status quo powers donot? Do status quo powers balance against revisionist powers when such expansion occurs? Do revisionist powers balance against each other over failed state(s)? Finally, do revisionist and status quo powers align together to balance against other revisionist power(s)? To examine these questions, this dissertation proposes four hypotheses. First, revisionist powers, not status quo powers, expand into failed states by taking advantage of the power vacuum created by state failure. Secondly, since this expansion by revisionist powers threatens the existing power distribution, status quo powers take balancing measures against the expanding power(s). Third, revisionist powers are also expected to balance against each other over failed states if they fail to agree on dividing the spoils. Fourth, when revisionist powers balance against each other, alliance is likely to develop between revisionist and status quo powers against the most threatening expanding power. This research examines the behavior of six regional powers of Egypt, Iran, Israel, Saudi, Syria (1970-2010), and Turkey toward four cases of state failure of Yemen 1962-1970, Lebanon 1975-1989, Yemen 2004-2020, and Syria 2011-2020).

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