The Role Of The Military In The Middle East

1855 words - 8 pages

During the 1950s and 1970s a modernisation hypothesis dominated political sciences. Political scholars who specialised in the Middle East suggested that relatively autonomous militaries were indicative of progressive forces of modernisation and democratization. For Manfred Halpern and Lucien Pye, the core of modernisation theory included the following: (1) social change leads to development of internal political dynamics; (2) industrialisation produces modernity which leads to “convergence” amongst industrialised societies. For scholars interested in questions relating to the military and their political advancement, the latter of these principles was the most important. These political ...view middle of the document...

This paper seeks to extrapolate the role of the military in Arab states, specifically how the military has influenced certain states and their fight for freedom, power and democracy. The major question this paper seeks to answer is, why do militaries intervene in state politics? By using case studies in Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, I hope to build an understanding of military relations.

The role of the military could be traced back to monarchical times were society depended on the clergy and the army to reinforce state standards. The king declared himself as the messenger of god as well as being the army chief commander, but after First World War, the military took an active role in political and state affairs. This interest in the military is believed to have been revived after the Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936 to repel foreign aggression in their countries. The military was seen as the strongest power in the formation of the new state due to powers assigned to them by former colonial powers. According to Koonings and Krujit (2002) national affairs became too important to leave in the hands of civilians, especially in turmoil situations, severe economic crisis, unstable governments or the legitimacy of existing regimes. The state was seen as the guardian of national interest as this could be exemplified even in present day Egypt.
On the 3rd of July 2013, after several days of protests, Mohammed Morsi, the voted president of Egypt was asked to step down by the Egyptian military, the remains of the government were erased, and power was seized by the military which held substantial power within Egypt. This act of coup d’états is not unusual in Middle Eastern states, Finer 1976, argues the military intervenes out of national interest because an increased dependence on the military. However, Nordlinger and Perlmutter (1977) focused on the corporate interest and career ambitions of the military. They argue that the military use their powers as an advance their own interests. They argue “the officers can more easily rationalise and justify their coups when acting against incumbents whom they see as incompetent and corrupt”.
Nonetheless, Middle Eastern states have developed features which seem to be common amongst them and include; “Strong identification of the military with the fate of the nation as its core principle, emphasis on integrity, national strength -development and a military doctrine that links the state in its destiny and interest in the people. These national values are often derived from Islamic beliefs and are invoked to “lend higher support to the intervention”. People looked to the Quran as a way of life and the law, therefore, no devout Muslim questioned the ways of their rulers. Consequently, since Islam is regarded as the embodiment of God's will and justice, its followers were satisfied from the moral conviction that their political system, though authoritarian in nature, was a best match for the state.(Koonings and...

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