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From Republics of Armies to Kata'ibs of Militia, Sheikhs, and Warlords: Civil-Military Relations in Iraq and Yemen

CHIMENTE, ANTHONY,MICHAEL (2019) From Republics of Armies to Kata'ibs of Militia, Sheikhs, and Warlords: Civil-Military Relations in Iraq and Yemen. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines civil-military relations in two fragmented states of the Middle East, Iraq and Yemen. In the study of civil-military relations, scholars have historically viewed the ‘state’ as a given referent object of analysis when examining militaries in the region, the legacy of a predominantly Western-centric approach to understanding and explaining the centrality of the military to state identity. Yet, the Arab Spring witnessed the emergence of powerful non-state actors and the decline of the ideal Weberian state in favour of communalised military power along sectarian, tribal and ethnic lines. Strong national armies have been replaced by communally driven actors competing for power and influence.
Post-Arab Spring models of civil-military relations have failed to address the relationship between weak, often-fragmented states and the impact of politically aligned-militia and sub-state coercive forces who can both complement but also challenge the central authority of the state. By using three frames to explain the communalisation of violence - tribalism and sectarianism, patrimonial economy, and the role of external actors – this thesis develops a new model of civil-military relations that has come to shape the nexus between the state and various armed groups. This moves our understanding of civil-military relations and its core construct beyond normative Western-centric frameworks advanced by Huntington and Janowitz, and further developed by other scholars.
By using these three frames, this thesis argues that civil-military relations in fragmented states has become communalised, along ethnic, tribal and sectarian lines. This has in turn led many Arab states to face a crisis of legitimacy that stems from the inability of weak central authorities to fully control the monopoly of violence. Therefore, the state can no longer be considered the sole referent point in the study of civil-military relations as it applies to much of the contemporary Middle East.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Middle East Civil-Military Relations Iraq Yemen State
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Nov 2019 08:51

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