By Prof. Curtis R. Ryan
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Additional info for Inter-Arab Alliances: Regime Security and Jordanian Foreign Policy
I argue that Arab regimes, in attempting to provide for their own security and survival, have created an interactive internal-external dynamic—in short, a cycle—that too often provokes hostility and opposition not only from neighboring states but also from their own societies. In a region not short on real causes for conflict, such inadvertent provocation only adds to the security-obsessive mind-set of many Arab regimes. Yet it is in this very cycle that the ultimate paradox lies: specifically, that even as the coercive and military strength of Arab states steadily grows, so too does the domestic and regional insecurity of Arab regimes.
Perhaps one reason for this attribution is that, during almost every Middle East crisis in the last several decades, the events themselves were quickly shrouded in a mist of ideological rhetoric. When this rhetoric is taken at face value, the fluid patterns of shifting alignments in inter-Arab relations tend to be seen as the result of ideological nuances that seem baffling in their complexity. But is ideology really the driving force in inter-Arab alignments and alliances? And if so, why do we so often see alignments between states that do not appear to be ideologically compatible?
Certainly there are many alternative approaches to greater political openness. But in the final analysis, the fact is that most political systems in the Arab Middle East remain either authoritarian or semi-authoritarian monarchies (Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) or single-party or dominant-party republics backed by the military (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen). One might reasonably object to the inclusion in this discussion of both Arab republics and Arab monarchies.