The Arab Uprisings have brought renewed attention to the role of the military in the MENA region, where they are either the backbone of regime power or a crucial part of patronage networks in political systems. This collection of essays from international experts examines the economic interests of armed actors ranging from military businesses in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Jordan, Sudan, and Yemen to retired military officers’ economic endeavors and the web of funding of non-state armed groups in Syria and Libya. Control of businesses producing both military and civilian goods, retention of financial, material, or military support, and allocation of lucrative administrative or political positions to armed actors appear to be entrenched economic pillars of the military power in the region. Armed groups engaging in anti-regime struggles, as well as civilian oppositions, are facing enormous structural challenges rooted in the political economy of the military. Due to the combined power of business and arms, the military often manages to incorporate or quell competing groups and thus, to revert achievements of revolutionary movements. The book provides a unique comparative analysis of the growing role of the militaries in MENA political economies through a wide range of case studies.
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