Authority outside the State, Non-State Actors and New Institutions in the Middle East
Baylouny, Anne Marie
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The Middle East appears rife with violent non-state actors operating outside domestic law and international norms. Through state incapacity, economic reforms, or war, increasing areas are untouched by state services or law. Territories are becoming effectively stateless even in the geographic heart of the nominal state itself. States considered strong (Tunisia) or rich (Saudi Arabia) are similarly affected. Yet unlike Hobbes's nightmare of all-out competition and violence, the areas are in fact governed. Instead of chaos in spaces where state sovereignty is sparse or absent, alternative authorities arise. New actors and institutions fulfill roles previously considered the preserve of the state. Gangs, militias, thugs, local men of influence, and religious political parties are the main contenders for authority. These actors and their authority are not traditional or longstanding; they are newly successful, self-made leaders. They establish authority through services to the community and legitimate it in terms of religion, identity, or violence.
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