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5 - How Coup-Proofing Structured Military Response to Protest in Tunisia and Libya

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 September 2020

Hicham Bou Nassif
Affiliation:
Claremont McKenna College, California
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Summary

This chapter is meant for comparative purposes to test my hypotheses outside Egypt and Syria, my two major case studies. Tunisian autocrats Habib Bourguiba and Zein al-ʿAbidin Ben ʿAli strengthened the police and the ruling party as a counterweight to the armed forces – in other words, they centered their coup-proofing strategy on counterbalancing. In Libya, Muʿammar al-Qaddhafi crafted a complex coup-proofing system mixing divide-and-rule tactics with counterbalancing and ethnic stacking. I study the evolution of coup-proofing in both countries and show that divergent military behavior in 2011 – i.e., splintering of the armed forces in Libya vs cohesiveness in Tunisia; defection in Tunis vs loyalty in Tripoli – reflects the institutional legacies previously established by various coup-proofing tactics. Just as I did for Egypt and Syria, I put several other hypotheses previously posited to the test in this chapter.

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Chapter
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Endgames
Military Response to Protest in Arab Autocracies
, pp. 213 - 248
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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