War and State Building in the Middle East

Rolf Schwarz

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“An insightful study about states in the Middle East, providing important ideas for American foreign policy in the region.”—Terrorism and Political Violence
"Challenging Charles Tilly’s model of 'war-makes-state,' Schwarz...compares the Middle East with the European experience of state building and explains the dynamics and consolidation of states in the Arab world through an examination of Iraq, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates." --Choice

"This comparative volume explores the dramatic pathways of political development undertaken by rentier regimes in the Arab world. Here, waging war proved to weaken rather than strengthen state capacity in pernicious ways--an insight that contrasts sharply with received Western wisdom about war being the crucible of modern state building."--Sean L. Yom, Temple University

"An important contribution to the literature on state building in the Middle East."--Gawdat Bahgat, author of Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East

War and State Building in the Middle East addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the authoritarian-regime governments commonly found in the Middle East, particularly among oil-rich countries. In this region, war has interacted with processes of state making in ways that fundamentally differ from the European experience. In short, unlike in Europe, wars do not make states in the Middle East; they destroy them.
According to economic theory, most oil-rich countries are rentier states; that is, they rely upon the extraction of a natural resource to generate revenue and authority for the central government. As a result, there is little reliance upon domestic taxation and a general lack of political accountability and transparency.
His comparative approach allows him to demonstrate how varying levels of reliance upon external resource rents are reflected in the structure of the regime. By highlighting the perils of funding wars through the sale of natural resources, fighting with imported weaponry, and accepting peace settlements negotiated and guaranteed by foreign powers, Schwarz offers provocative insights into post-conflict peace building, state failure, and the potential for democratic rule in the region.

Rolf Schwarz is professor at the NATO Defense College in Rome.

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"An important and stimulating academic study relating to the nature of the state and the conditions of its formation, erosion and failure in the Arab World."
--Derasat Journal

"An illustrative analysis of the role of external rents in the formation of weak Middle Eastern states."
--The International Spectator

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