Date of Award

Spring 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Stacy D VanDeveer


Iran represents the primary threat to Saudi Arabia's foreign national security interests. Iranian hostility originates in the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution and also consists of threats to Saudi Arabia's internal security.1 Saudi Arabia's strategy to safeguard its national security assets, including petroleum processing and export facilities vital to the smooth flow of crude oil, relies on an advanced air defense capability to provide early warning of an aircraft or ballistic missile attack.

In contrast to the expected outcome of Robert Jervis' theory, a greater quantity of weapons but an overall decreased level of security, Saudi Arabia has increased their foreign security with respect to the Iranian combat aircraft threat to their national security interests in the Persian Gulf. Current developments by the two sides indicates an increasing downwards 'spiral of hostility' as each side acquires arms to offsets the others' increase in security.