Tobias Borck

Project Summary

The strategic environment in the Middle East is changing. Part of this change is the rise of Arab interventionism. As Western governments have become reluctant to get embroiled in the region's crises, Arab regimes appear increasingly willing to influence events beyond their own borders, deploying diplomatic, financial and military power. 

This is where I engage with my research. Instead of asking what the West has done/should (or should not) do in the Middle East, I want to understand what Arab regimes are trying to achieve in the region. They claim to be acting in the interest of security, stability and order - but what do they mean by that? What are their primary tools of power and how are they using them to achieve their aims? And finally, are their interventions successful? 

I will tackle these questions by developing a theoretical framework, drawing on IR, Security Studies and Strategic Studies, and by conducting a series of interviews in the region. I will focus on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as the primary Arab actors involved in interventions across the region (including in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria), while also drawing on historical examples of Arab interventions. 

Supervisory Team

First Supervisor: Dr Lise Storm

Second Supervisor: Professor Gareth Stansfield

Wider Research Interests

My wider research interests include: 

  • Extremism, radicalisation and terrorism, especially in North Africa
  • Change and stability in North Africa
  • Egypt's post-2011 development
  • European foreign policies towards the Middle East (especially British and German)

Authored Publications/Reports

Tobias Borck (14th July 2015) Israel, Egypt, and Security in the Sinai, Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Available at:

Tobias Borck (30th March 2015) An Arab Army: The Rise of Interventionism in the Middle East, Royal United Services Institute, Available at:

Tobias Borck (February 2015) Germany’s Middle Ostpolitik: No Longer on the Sidelines, RUSI Newsbrief, 35(1)

Tobias Borck (20th November 2014) Germany and Israel: A Special Relationship, Royal United Services Institute, Available at:

Tobias Borck (6th October 2014) The True Surprise: Germany’s Contribution to the Fight Against ISIS, Royal United Services Institute, Available at: