In This Review

War, Institutions, and Social Change in the Middle East
War, Institutions, and Social Change in the Middle East
Edited by Steven Heydemann
University of California Press, 2000, 372 pp

Scholars of early modern Europe advance the thesis that war makes states just as states make war. This book seeks to test that theory in the modern Middle Eastern context by asking how conflict has affected state-building there. Heydemann's introductory chapter reviews the scholarly literature and offers comparative insights. Eight country studies follow, as well as a chapter surveying the relations between states and markets in the postwar Middle East; a short conclusion by Roger Owen rounds out the volume. Volker Perthes' chapter on Syria and Isam al-Khafaji's discussion of Iraq most effectively address the book's organizing theme. Two general conclusions emerge. First, the prevailing international system generally impedes border changes; the only significant exception was Israel's conquests in the 1967 war, treated in a chapter by Joel Migdal. Second, the potential for states to democratize during war preparation -- when governments are obliged to elicit more citizen involvement -- is minimized in the Middle East because militarized governments can draw on external "rents" (oil wealth or security payments by outside states) rather than voter support.