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"Why Middle East Studies Missed the Arab Spring- The Myth of Authoritarian Stability" (Gregory F. Gause).pdf

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 340
Rex Brynen

Introduction many academics focused on the persistence of undemocratic rulers Qaddafi: Libya 1969 Assad family: Syria 1970 Saleh: North Yemen 1978 Mubarak: Egypt 1981 Ben Ali: Tunisia 1987 Hashemites: Jordan 1920 al-said family: Saudi Arabia 1932 Alaouite dynasty: Morocco 17thC remarkable record of regime stability what changed in the forces that underpinned four decades of Arab regime stability? what new elements emerged to spark the current revolts? Arab States and their Militaries few political scientists could explain the peculiar stability of Arab regimes in cultural terms recognized how popular the concept of democracy was there Arabs did not passively accept authoritarian rule brutal suppression of popular attempts to unseat leader mechanisms states had developed to weather popular dissent military-security complex leaders created institutions to exercise pol. control over their armies sometimes established rival mil. forces to balance the army's weight state control over the economy scholars failed to predict the ways in which the armies would react to the massive protests militaries react to public unrest based on social composition of both the regime and its military level of institutionalization and professionalism in the army itself military sided with protestors Egypt and Tunisia two of the most homogenous societies overwhelmingly Sunni army did not serve as the personal instrument of the ruler military split or dissolved Libya and Yemen military backed the regime Bahrain and Syria regime represents an ethnic, sectarian, or regional minority army dominated by that overrepresented minority Sunni-led security in Shiite-majority country members of Assad family command important army units The Reform Factor oil producers state control over the economy for stability Arab states with
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