ARABIA IMPERILED: THE SECURITY IMPERATIVES OF THE ARAB GULF STATES by Mazher A. Hameed (Middle East Assessments Group: $14.95; 189 pp.). The war between Iran and Iraq has now entered its seventh year, amid growing concerns that the initiative in that bloody and long-stalemated conflict may soon pass to the Islamic revolutionary regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Any apparent Iranian triumph, whether it involves the overthrow of Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein or the establishment of Iranian rule over a portion of southern Iraq, would produce political and strategic shock waves extending far beyond the immediate borders of the region. Of greatest consequence would be the impact on the oil-producing states of the Arabian peninsula, led by Saudi Arabia.
This is an area, Mazher Hameed argues in this useful strategic survey, that for too long has suffered from the benign neglect of the United States, and from an American policy that too often tends to view the security needs of the Saudis only in the context of the Arab-Israel conflict. Such a policy, says Hameed, ignores the incalculable harm that could be done to the economies of the United States and other Western countries if the vast oil reserves of the Gulf were to fall under the hostile control of either Islamic radicals or of the Soviet Union, should it be able to take opportunistic advantage of regional upheaval.