Authority Outside the State: Non-State Actors and New Institutions in the Middle
Baylouny, Anne Marie
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The Middle East appears rife with violent non-state actors operating outside international norms. The prevailing explanations view these groups through the lens of the state system. States are held responsible for the existence of groups within their borders. Alternatively, in the event that a state actively combats such groups, those non-state groups are attributed to the direction of international terrorists. It is assumed that some actor - state or international outlaw - is in hierarchical control over domestic non-state groups. These analyses ignore the grass-roots nature of non-state actors and their networked authority structure. In reality, even the groupsâ own leaders are often unable to control members. Increasing portions of the Middle East are escaping state regulation and services. Through state incapacity, reliance upon private service provision as the state reforms economically, rebellion, insurgency, and displacement due to war, increasing community space is being regulated locally. Effectively, territories are becoming stateless while they remain located within state territory. Unlike Hobbesâ nightmare of all-out competition and violence, institutions arise to govern these spaces internally. Gangs, local religious authorities and religious political parties are currently the main contenders for authority. In this paper I provide an overview and typology of unregulated areas in the Middle East. Unregulated spaces result from either economic or political causes. Economic causes include rural to urban migration, economic structural adjustment and state incapacity to provide services for new migrants and old residents of urban and rural areas alike. Political causes include war-displaced refugees and disputed zones, where non-state groups claim sovereignty against the state.
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