Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 October 2020
In Chapter 3, I specify the status of armies under authoritarian regimes beyond their proximity to regimes. I want to offer a better understanding of what is distinctive about the armed forces in Arab authoritarian regimes. First, in most cases, armies have been huge bureaucratic actors seated in the state, living in and often above the state. Second and contra, in most cases, armies have kept some relations with their respective societies at least through the institution of (more-or-less filtered) conscription, also an important source of legitimacy. Third, armies have been budget-hungry actors, whose expenses have often been covered with access to foreign military aid. And fourth, in some cases and with different overtones from Egypt to Syria, armies have become powerful economic actors in the (civilian) economy.