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Durham e-Theses
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‘Penetration Through Fragmentation’
Modelling Authoritarian Survival versus Resilience in the Middle East

ALSAGHIR, MOHAMMAD,A (2020) ‘Penetration Through Fragmentation’
Modelling Authoritarian Survival versus Resilience in the Middle East.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 30 November 2025.


This thesis centres on authoritarian survival in deeply penetrated regions of the Middle East. The main research question that the thesis tackles is: what explains the survival of the authoritarian regime in Syria since 2000? The Syrian regime showed high level of elasticity in facing multiple regional and local turbulence since the beginning of the new millennium that posed existential threats for the survival of the regime of Bashar Assad, yet it defied the odds and survived it all. The transfer of power to a new and untrained president; the war on terror; the Syria Accountability Act and the Syrian Uprising, are to name a few of many turbulent factors that have blighted and ended regimes in the Middle East, while the Syrian regime suffered only minor economic concussion and remained intact. By answering this question, lessons can be learnt on how states in the late formation survive even through the hardest of conditions. Current theories on Middle East authoritarianism have gone a long way in describing authoritarian resilience in the Middle East while considering the peculiarities of the region, yet these theories gave humble attention to the role played by external forces in authoritarian survival, leaving room for further testing and theorisation. The study examines this question through a mixed method research design with emphasis on qualitative analysis using a single case study analysis that looks onto a state as a homogenized identity persevering to equipoise power balance between structures and human agency. This thesis suggests an analytical framework of state survival in a geostrategically penetrated region within the boundaries of the post-colonial Middle East state system. I called this framework a “Penetration Through Fragmentation” Model of authoritarian resilience-vs-survival, whereby, Penetration represents the role of external powers and Fragmentation represents the role of local political networks, both modern and premodern, in the resilience of authoritarian regimes.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Authoritarian resilience, authoritarian survival, Middle East, penetration, fragmentation, patronage, clientelism.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:30 Nov 2020 15:15

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