The Frailty of Authority. Borders, Non-State Actors and Power Vacuums in a Changing Middle East

Governance failures, combined with 21st-century social, economic, environmental and demographic conditions, have all contributed to paving the way for the rise of highly heterogeneous non-state and quasi-state actors in the Middle East. Has the state, then, been irremediably undermined, or will the current transition lead to the emergence of new state entities? How can the crumbling of states and the redrawing of borders be reconciled with the exacerbation of traditional inter-state competition, including through proxy wars? How can a new potential regional order be framed and imagined? This volume provides a historical background and policy answers to these and a number of other related questions, analysing developments in the region from the standpoint of the interplay between disintegration and polarization.

Volume produced within the framework of the New-Med Research Network.

Roma, Nuova Cultura, February 2017, 160 p.
Publication date: 

List of contributors, p. 7-8
List of abbreviations, p. 9
Preface, by Nicolò Russo Perez, p. 11-14
Introduction, by Lorenzo Kamel, p. 15-18

1. Early Warning Signs in the Arab World That We Ignored – And Still Ignore, by Rami G. Khouri, p. 19-34

2. The Weakness of State Structures in the Arab World: Socio-Economic Challenges from Below, by Francesco Cavatorta, p. 35-49
2.1 The revenge of regions
2.2 Overcoming exceptionalism

3. State Vacuums and Non-State Actors in the Middle East and North Africa, by Florence Gaub, p. 51-65
3.1 What is a state vacuum?
3.2 A binary relationship: states and non-state actors
3.3 State formation in the Middle East and North Africa
3.4 Beyond state vacuums

4. Proxy Agents: State and Non-State Alliances in the Middle East, by Kristina Kausch, p. 67-83
4.1 Non-state actors as a foreign policy tool
4.2 Influential alliances
4.3 Proxy agents, statehood and regional stability
4.4 Increasing agency in a global context

5. (In)security in an Era of Turbulence: Mapping Post-Statist Geopolitics in the Middle East, by Waleed Hazbun, p. 85-105
5.1 The geopolitics of (in)security in the Middle East
5.2 Statist order in the Middle East: From consolidation to erosion
5.3 Towards a geopolitics of turbulence
5.4 The dynamics of hybrid actors and networks
5.5 The reconfiguration of US power in the region
5.6 A regional conflict of networks
5.7 Lessons from the Lebanese case

6. Hybrid Partnerships in Middle East Turbulence, by Raffaele Marchetti and Yahya Al Zahrani, p. 107-121
6.1 From Westphalia to transnationalism
6.2 Hybrid partnerships
6.3 Hybrid politics in the Middle East
6.4 Future trends

7. A “Natural” Order? States, Nations and Borders in a Changing Middle East, by Lorenzo Kamel, p. 123-140
7.1 “Artificiality” and the Middle East: Deconstructing a pattern
7.2 “Artificial” states and peoples: cui prodest?
7.3 A “natural” order?
7.4 Toward a “post-artificial” perspective

Bibliography, p. 141-160

Research area