Persistence of Authoritarian Rule in the Middle East

Essay by bryanvepyUniversity, Bachelor's September 2006

download word file, 6 pages 1.0

Authoritarian rule has always been predominant in Middle Eastern society. From its inception the problems caused by external state formation have negatively affected life in the former Ottoman Empire. This creation has caused problems of identity, it began a now chronic regional conflict (often border disputes), helped perpetuate the ideals of Arab "exceptionalism" and aided in the development of a rentier state (a nation which relies heavily upon rents due to it from other nations from a rent 'where no good or service is being produced' usually a natural resource such as oil in the Arab World (i.e. Middle Eastern countries whose state revenue comes primarily from oil rents). The economic instability of Middle Eastern countries has created a great dependence of the people upon the state for financial stability; the severity of the problem forced many people to believe that a militarily operated nation was the only way change could come about.

The external formation of the Middle Eastern nations has created perpetuating problems of economic instability, and political desperation which have ensured the proliferation of authoritarian military rule in this area.

Firstly the problem of state formation left the Arab world very weak. The governments were not legitimatized they were under colonial rule and the military was the only group able to reclaim the country. The people had become disillusioned with democracy and Western ideals they were still uneducated, uncared for, and unhappy; they had been oppressed and economically exploited...they demanded change. Militants preached that if you wanted freedom from Western oppression it didn't matter what was sacrificed so long as liberation was realized (the ends will justify the means). Authoritarian regimes promised the world; from nationalization (everyone getting a fair share of state revenue), to the creation of state-formed enterprise to eliminate class conflict, to subsidies...