Brown Bag Seminar

September 23, 2009
Heller Building, Room 163

The Military and the State in the Middle East: Revisiting political, economic, and social roles and impacts

Prof. Yezid Sayigh, Crown Center Senior Fellow and Professor of Middle East Studies in the Department of War Studies at King's College London

Since the 1980s, Middle Eastern militaries have diversified, extended, and transformed their roles. All this in two contexts: one, a deepening economic liberalization and privatization, and two, a new international security agenda focused on a 'global war on terror' since 9/11.

The decline of coups d'état and overt military rule obscures the fact that many regional militaries have secured their agendas within existing political and constitutional systems. They have become enmeshed in power elites and in social and business networks, often engaging in illicit commercial activity while sub-contracting security functions to private agents and paramilitaries.

Yet research into Middle East militaries is exceedingly rare. The notable exception is Israel and, to a lesser degree, Turkey. Prof. Sayigh's project addresses this gap, seeking to understand the military as a 'national' institution in an era of de-nationalization of both state and economy. Such understanding is critical to democratization and free-market reform in the region.

Please bring your lunch, refreshments will be provided