The military in the Arab state

Authored by: Philippe Droz-Vincent

The Routledge Handbook to the Middle East and North African State and States System

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367358877
eBook ISBN: 9780429342486
Adobe ISBN:


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Notwithstanding the lack of studies on the topic since the 1970s, the Arab state however entails a strong military dimension. Armies in most states have played a key role in state-building with cliques of officers taking power through coups d’état and engineering crucial changes in the polity. An image of continuity has then prevailed with the military remaining a crucial behind-the-scenes pillar of regimes, especially with its coercive potential. Yet, regimes were “de-militarized” in the sense that they became much more than a junta of officers in power. The Uprisings of 2011 opened up new avenues for military agency (with the prevailing state weakenings), but they also provoked huge “stress tests” for military institutions. With the noted exception of Tunisia, armies have been pulled more deeply into new political struggles of regime re-formation after 2011, and in some cases have played a leading role, as exemplified by Egypt.

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