Understanding the new middle eastern leaders : an operational code approach
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Political Islam and particular Islamist organizations have broadly gained strength across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the post-Cold War era. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is viewed as the world‘s largest and most influential Islamist organization impinging upon the wider landscape of contemporary MENA politics. The psychological approach contends that the characteristics of leaders making foreign policy are crucial to understanding ultimate foreign policy outcomes (Hudson 2005). In this literature, the study of leaders‘ beliefs is one the most progressive approaches to world politics which focuses on leaders‘ belief systems and their impacts on foreign policy-making (Leites 1951; George 1969). By utilizing the operational code analysis, this research aims to unravel the general patterns of Islamist foreign policy iv manifested itself in three MB-affiliated MENA leaders‘ foreign policy behaviors in the post-Arab uprisings era: Egypt‘s Morsi, Tunisia‘s Ghannouchi, and Hamas‘ Meshaal. Two main hypotheses are posited in this thesis. First, the foreign policy beliefs of three MB-affiliated MENA leaders are not significantly different from the world leaders‘ included in the ‗norming group.‘ Secondly, it is hypothesized that foreign policy behaviors of three Islamist leaders designate uniformity pattern even though these leaders operate in quite different political and cultural settings. The analysis results yield that operational codes of three MB leaders are analogous to the average world leader‘s since there are only a few statistically significant differences. The findings also support the argument that despite operating in different political systems, all three MBIslamists exhibit similar foreign policy behaviors towards the ‗other‘ in a strategic environment.
KeywordsOperational Code Analysis
Islamist Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy Analysis