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2 - Changing Dynamics with the Rise of New Kinds of Authoritarian Regimes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 October 2020

Philippe Droz-Vincent
Affiliation:
Sciences-Po Grenoble
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Summary

In Chapter 2, I argue that military politics was laid down in a renewed pattern after the 1970s under enduring authoritarian regimes that were characterized as “demilitarized” or “civilianized.” In most cases, officers did not rule (or did not want to rule) but one of them was at the helm. I argue that Arab armies were state institutions of great importance, at least compared with other “ghost” or “void” institutional dynamics in Arab polities, and especially as the holders of last-resort heavy coercion. The creation and management of political quietism within armies was a key issue for such authoritarian regimes. This imperative of control was pushed to the limit in some cases: with the “social engineering” in the officer corps by Hafez al-Assad, or with the hijacking of the Yemeni military by Ali Abdallah Saleh, after the systemic positioning of close relatives (sons, half-brothers, nephews) in command posts. In the eclectic Libyan case, Qaddafi, though an officer, distrusted the army and spent decades tearing it apart. Conversely, the tradition of civilian control endured in Tunisia from Bourguiba to Ben Ali, though the latter was an army officer, quickly turned “securocrat.”

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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