Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 October 2020
Chapter 1 starts with a critical juncture that installed a new pattern with the political surge of armies in many Arab states. Newly independent states engaged in the complex task of building their armed forces, also as a symbol of their newly gained sovereignty. During this foundational period, the complex processes of nation- and state-building went hand in hand with the politicization of the officer corps so that the army was propelled as the founder of new, postcolonial political orders and as a specific incubator, in control of real power and endowed with huge power resources. Within this general trend, some militaries were much more submitted to social trends and penetration by societies in the form of ethno-confessional or tribal dimensions, when compared with the relative closure of the Egyptian armed forces to society and its dynamics. Rather than their exhaustion in the framework of national armies, subsequent political developments witnessed their enhancement, as exemplified by Syria and Yemen. And, in this overall picture of heightened militarization in the Arab World, Tunisia appeared as the negative and exceptional case with its armed forces remaining a subservient part of the (civilian) Tunisian state and regime alike.