Over the last few centuries, the Arab states of the Gulf and Iran have played roles of great strategic and economic significance: whether as a hub of world trade or as major suppliers of the world's energy. However since 2001, the region - in common with much of the Islamic world - has been the focus of negative sentiment and scrutiny as a potential battleground in the international war against terrorism. More recently, the Gulf states have been exposed to new difficulties in the unfolding aftermath to the war in Iraq. Against this disturbing backdrop, the region is striving to face these new and diverse challenges: the deteriorating security environment, the sweeping effects of globalization, the diversification of oil-dependent economies, the transition to knowledge-based economies, burgeoning population levels, rising demand for job creation, externally induced reform pressures and widening political participation. Influential policy makers, regional leaders, scholars, economists and security analysts here offer the first major response to the challenges since the Iraq war. The resulting analyses offer fresh insight into shifting security parameters, the redefining of government responsibilities, the initiation of political and social change, the evolution of media roles, and the expansion of opportunities for women. The book also presents important new assessments of the security situations in Iraq and Iran, and early developments in security co-operation and economic integration in the region.