Guardians of the Arab State: When Militaries Intervene in Politics, from Iraq to Mauritania

Guardians of the Arab State: When Militaries Intervene in Politics, from Iraq to Mauritania

by Florence Gaub




Guardians of the Arab State explains clearly and concisely how and why military organizations become involved in politics across the Middle East and North Africa, identifying four key factors: a high degree of organizational capacity, clear institutional interest, a forgiving population and weak civilian control.

Looking at numerous case studies ranging from Mauritania to Iraq, the book finds that these factors are common to all Arab countries to have experienced coups in the last century. It also finds that the opposite is true in cases like Jordan, where strong civilian control and the absence of capacity,
interest, or a positive public image made coup attempts futile. Gaub also convincingly argues that the reasons are structural rather than cultural, thereby proving a counter-narrative to conventional explanations, which look at Arab coups along religious or historical lines. In essence, the questions addressed herein lead back to issues of weak statehood, legitimacy, and resource constraints - all problems the Arab world has struggled with since independence. Guardians of the Arab State picks up where previous literature on Middle Eastern military forces dropped the debate, and provides an updated and insightful analysis into the soul of Arab armies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190697617
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/01/2017
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Florence Gaub is a senior analyst at the European Union Institute for Security Studies, where she heads the Middle East program. Her research focuses on conflict, war and armed forces in the Arab world.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Of Kingmakers and Game-changers 1

2 The View from Within: Military Reasons 7

Institutional capacity: because they can 7

Military interests: because they want to 28

3 The Company they Keep: Socio-Political Reasons 51

Civil-military relations undone: because there is nobody else 51

Social capital: because they're allowed to 76

4 Models of Non-Political Armies 101

The failed force who couldn't Iraq, Libya, Yemen 101

The professional force who won't: Lebanon, Tunisia 119

5 Models of Potentially Political Armies 137

The capable force that is checked: Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia 137

The Jordanian military: from tribal to royal 138

The political force which will: Egypt, Algeria 162

Conclusion: The Four Preconditions of Coups, and their Aftermath 181

Notes 187

Bibliography 225

Index 257

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