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Drs. P.W.H. (Paul) Aarts

Docent internationale betrekkingen (met pensioen, gastaanstelling)
Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
Programmagroep: Transnational Configurations, Conflict and Governance
Fotograaf: UvA

  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Kamernummer: B9.12
  • Postbus 15578
    1001 NB Amsterdam
  • Paul Aarts

    Paul Aarts

    Paul Aarts (1949) has been a lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Political Science (University of Amsterdam).  Since his retirement he holds a guest appointment at this department. He was co-founder of ZemZem , a Dutch magazine on the Middle East, North Africa and Islam. He developed the 'Zeytun Academic Exchange' program with academic institutes in several Middle Eastern countries (see below 'Teaching: Cooperating With?'). He mainly writes on the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia in particular. He has undertaken consultancy work on the Middle East for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Security and Justice, the European Commission and other institutions. Aarts regularly contributes to public debates on matters related to the Middle East, writing op-eds and giving interviews on radio and tv.

    In the media: Five lectures on the 'Arab Spring': Universiteit van Nederland (in Dutch). Five days after '9/11', Aarts debated with the writer Leon de Winter on the 'Invisible Enemy' (VPRO/VARA, in Felix Meritis, Amsterdam, 16-09-2001). For an interview (in Dutch) with Aarts, see Folia Civitatis (nr. 10, 3 November 2010). An interview on the 'Arab Spring' ("It's the economy stupid!"), see Vredesmagazine (2011, no. 3, pp. 22-25, in Dutch); on the Zeytun exchange programme, see Transfer (March 6, 2012, in Dutch). A extensive portrait, in Dutch, was published in ZemZem (2015, 11, see link below). 

    Research interests

    International relations in general and politics and economics of the Middle East in particular. Regional focus: the Middle East and North Africa,with special emphasis onthe Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran in particular). See below: PUBLICATIONS.


    For research purposes he acted as one of the academic coordinators of the research project on 'Civil society in West Asia'.

  • Research, reviews, recent books
    Nieuw Amsterdam, 2de druk 2016
    Hurst Publishers, 2015
    Arabic edition, published by the Center of Arab Unity Studies, Beirut, Lebanon
    Persian edition of 'Saudi Arabia: Kingdom in Peril'
    Edited volume (Maaike Warnaar, Luciano Zaccara & Paul Aarts). Published by Gerlach Press, Berlin & London.
    • From Resilience to Revolt. Making Sense of the Arab Spring. Research report commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice (June 2012, 117 pages). 

    In Arabic:

    Saudi Arabia in the Balance. Political Economy, Society, Foreign Affairs, edited by Paul Aarts & Gerd Nonneman. Published in updated Arabic edition (Center for Arab Unity Studies, Beirut, September 2012).


    • Saudi Arabia Between Conservatism, Accomodation and Reform (IRP research report edited by Roel Meijer & Paul Aarts. Main contributors: Joas Wagemakers, Mariwan Kanie and Annemarie van Geel. Clingendael, July 2012.
    • Jort Statema & Paul Aarts, 'The Netherlands: Follow Washington, Be a Good European', in Timo Behr & Teija Tiilikainen (eds.), Northern Europe and the Making of the EU's Mediterranean and Middle East Policies. Normative Leaders or Passive Bystanders? (Ashgate 2015), pp. 91-107.
    • 'Geopolitics after 9/11: Did Iran Benefit?' in Democracy & Society , Vol. 9, Issue 1, Spring 2012, pp. 1, 14-17 (with Stephan de Vries).
    • 'Arabische lente, een mistig seizoen', in Socialisme & Democratie 2011, nr. 4, pp. 7-15 (samen metMarcia Luyten).
    • Een verkorte, geactualiseerde versie van het artikel in Socialisme & Democratie verscheen in de Volkskrant , 28 mei 2011.
    • Een enigszins geactualiseerde versie verscheen ook in ZemZem , nr. 1, 2011.
    • 'Maintaining authoritarianism: The jerky path of political reforminSaudi Arabia', in Orient, 2011/1
    • 'The political economy of Saudi-Iranian relations: present and future', in Jean-Francois Seznec & Mimi Kerk (eds.), Industrialization in the Gulf. A socioeconomic revolution (London/New York: Routledge, 2010), pp. 57-77 (with Joris van Duijne).
    • 'Saudi Arabia and Iran: Less Antagonism, More Pragmatism'. In Viewpoints Special Edition, 'The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1979-2009: Evolution of a Pivotal State', Middle East Institute, Washington, DC, pp. 62-64 (with Joris van Duijne).
    • 'Saudi Arabia after U.S.-Iranian Détente: Left in the Lurch?', Middle East Policy , Vol. XVI, No. 3, Fall 2009, pp. 64-78 (together with Joris van Duijne).
    • Reprinted in Barry Rubin (ed.), Security & Stability in the Middle East (Routledge 2011).
    • 'The Saudi Security Environment: Plus Ca Change...', in Laura Guazzone & Daniela Pioppi (eds.), The Arab State and Neo-Liberal Globalization. The Restructuring of State Power in the Middle East (Reading: Ithaca Press, 2009), pp. 275-297 (together with Joris van Duijne).
    • 'Kingdom with borders: the political economy of Saudi-European relations', in Madawi Al-Rasheed(ed.), Kingdom without Borders. Saudi Arabia's Political, Religious and Media Frontiers (London: Hurst, 2008), pp. 135-156 (together with Roos Meertens and Joris van Duijne).
    • 'Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States: Continuity Amidst Instability', in Strategic Survey 2008 , London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008, pp. 235-245 (together with Joris van Duijne).
    • Paul Aarts en Sietse Bosgra, 'Praten met Hamas', in Internationale Spectator , april 2008, pp. 232-236.
    • Paul Aarts, 'The Longevity of the House of Saud. Looking Outside the Box,' in Oliver Schlumberger (ed.), Debating Arab Authoritarianism. Dynamics and Durability in Nondemocratic Regimes (Stanford University Press, 2007), pp. 251-267.
    • Paul Aarts, 'Saudi Arabia Walks the Tightrope', in The International Spectator (Rome), Vol. 42, No. 4, December 2007, pp. 545-500.
    • Paul Aarts & Machteld van Rijsingen, 'Beijing's Rising Star in theGulf Region: The Near and the Distant Future', in Eckart Woerzt (ed.), Gulf Geo-Economics . Dubai: Gulf Research Center, 2007, pp. 23-58. [Also published in Journal ofGreater Middle Eastern Studies (Seoul, Korea), Vol. 1 (2008), No. 1, pp. 35-89].
    • 'Cultuur en strategie:de Verenigde Staten en het Iraakse fiasco' ,Vrede en Veiligheid , 34 (2), 2005, pp. 194-213(with Gep Eisenloeffel and Paul van Hooft).  
    • 'Lions of Tawhid in the Polder', Middle East Report , Summer 2005, No. 235, Vol.35, No. 2 (with Fadi Hirzalla).
    • 'The Internal and the External: The House of Saud's Longevity Explained' (Florence: RobertSchuman Centre, European University Institute, RSCAS No.2004/33).
    • 'Shades of Opinion: The Oil-Exporting Countries and International Climate Politics', in The Review of International Affairs , Winter 2003/2004; (with Dennis Janssen).
    • Also published in: Gerd Nonneman (ed.), Analyzing Middle East Foreign Policies and the Relationship with Europe .London/New York: Routledge 2005, pp. 223-242.
    • Islam,de woede en het Westen, edited with Jan Keulen, Amsterdam: Bulaaq, 2001.
    • 'Post-War Kuwait and the Process of Democratization: the Persistence of Political Tribalism', in: Abbas Abdelkarim (ed.), Changeand Development in the Gulf , Macmillan 1999:pp. 213-237.
    • 'The Middle East: Eternally Out of Step with History?', in KennethP. Thomas & Mary Ann Tétreault (eds.), Racing to Regionalize. Democracy, Capitalism, amd Regional Political Economy ,Boulder, Co: Lynne Rienner 1999.

    The Oil Weapon: A One-Shot Edition? United Arab Emirates/AbuDhabi: ECSSR, 1999.

    Waar ligt de grens? Kritische beschouwingen over het vredesproces tussen Palestina en Israël , edited with Mouin Rabbani, Bussum: Coutinho, 1996.

    Stilte na de Storm. De TweedeGolfoorlog in perspectief , edited with Bert Bomert, Nijmegen: Studiecentrum voor Vredesvraagstukken, 1993.

    Geld, goed en godsdienst in het Midden-Oosten , edited, Bussum: Coutinho, 1991.

    Islamitisch fundamentalisme , edited with Kees Wagtendonk, Bussum: Coutinho, 1986.

    De Arabische Uitdaging. Europa oog in oog met een nieuwe realiteit, edited with Barry van Heijningen, Rotterdam: Ordeman, 1982.

    Het Midden-Oosten en Noord-Afrika. Een politiek landenboek , edited, Weesp/Antwerpen: Het Wereldvenster/Standaard Uitgeverij, 1983.

    List of scholarly journals in which articles have been published:

    • The Arab Journalof International Studies (Arabic)
    • Arab Studies Quarterly
    • Civil Society
    • Civis Mundi (Dutch)
    • Contemporary Arab Affairss
    • Derde Wereld (Dutch)
    • Democracy & Society
    • Etelaat Eqtesadi (Persian)
    • Facta (Dutch)
    • International Journal of Political Economy
    • Internationale Spectator (Dutch)
    • JIME Cairo Report (Japanese)
    • JIME Review
    • Journal of Greater Middle Eastern Studies (Seoul, Korea)
    • Krisis (Dutch)
    • MERA Occasional Papers
    • MERIP Middle East Report
    • Middle East Policy
    • Monde Arabe/Maghreb-Machrek (French)
    • OPEC Review
    • Orient
    • Raw Materials Report
    • Review ofInternational Affairs
    • Sharqiyyât (Dutch)
    • The Emirates Occasional Papers
    • The International Spectator
    • The Lancaster Papers
    • Third World Quarterly
    • Tijdschrift voor Politieke Economie (TPE) (Dutch)
    • Transaktie/Vrede & Veiligheid (Dutch)
    • Socialisme & Democratie

    Apart from scholarly articles: regular book reviews and shorter contributions to:

    • OPEC Bulletin
    • British Journal for Middle Eastern Studies
    • Bibliotheca Orientalis
    • De Groene Amsterdammer (Dutch)
    • INAMO (German)
    • Jason (Dutch)
    • New Internationalist
    • The Middle East Journal
    • Vanguardia (Spanish)
    • Vrij Nederland (Dutch)
    • Soera (Dutch)
    • ZemZem (Dutch)
  • Contacts

    Affiliated with

    • Secretary of the Leonhard-Woltjer Foundation ('Nederlands Instituut voor het Arabisch Cultuurgebied', NIAC) [www.leonhardwoltjer-stichting.nl]
    • Member of the Board of Governors of the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies, Sana'a [www.ycmes.org]
    • Member of the international advisory board of the International Journal of International Relations and Development [http://www.palgrave-journals.com/jird/about.html]
    • Member of the Editorial Board of Contemporary Arab Affairs [http://caa.ucpress.edu/]

    Zeytun Academic Exchange

    For teaching purposes he has cooperated with the School of International Relations and the Faculty of World Studies (University of Tehran) in Tehran; in Syria with the University of Kalamoon in Deir Atieh; in Yemen with Sana'a University and the Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies in Sana'a; in Morocco with Ecole de Gouvernance et d'Economie (EGE) in Rabat; and in Iraq with the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, and the University of Kurdistan, Hawler in Erbil.

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