Marina Calculli

Societal Fragmentation and Military Systems in the Arab World: Syria's Civil-Military Relations in the Wake of the Arab Uprising of 2011

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This article investigates the relation between military systems and Arab statebuilding process. It, first, contends that a structural gap between regime security and national security can be identified in all of the Arab states. In this perspective, postcolonial Arab regimes have built their armies with the primary aim of pursuing regime security. The article, then, distinguishes between states with a politicized societal fragmentation and states with non politicized or absent fragmentation, contending that the linkage between regime security and army's structure is particularly evident in the former, for power 'asabiyya (solidarity group) plays a central role in defining conscription rules and military careers. A behavioural analysis of Syrian civilmilitary relations during the 2011 civil war finally elucidates the relationship between the endurance of al-Assad regime and the role played by the Alawi 'asabiyya in the military apparatus.


  • Military systems
  • State-building
  • Sectarianism
  • Middle eastern studies


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