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Arab Governments: The Quest for Security. Lecturer—Lieutenant Colonel Mike Meyer. Undergrad. Degree —Latin American History Masters—Nat. Sec. Affairs (Mid-East) and Arabic Middle East and Political Military Affairs Specialist Intelligence Officer—Aviation and Political Affairs

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Arab Governments:The Quest for Security

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Lecturer—Lieutenant Colonel Mike Meyer

  • Undergrad. Degree —Latin American History

  • Masters—Nat. Sec. Affairs (Mid-East) and Arabic

  • Middle East and Political Military Affairs Specialist

  • Intelligence Officer—Aviation and Political Affairs

  • Analyst and Briefer for Commander, USCENTCOM

  • Political Advisor to Commander, USCENTAF

  • Air Attaché, U.S. Embassy, Damascus, Syria

  • AF Recruiting Squadron Commander, Maxwell AFB

Bagram Air Base


Reminders of the Regime

Baghdad, Iraq

Tomb of Salah Al-Din

Damascus, Syria

At the Pyramids

Giza, Egypt

With A Syrian Contact

Damascus, Syria

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  • Common Characteristics of Security-Conscious Arab States

  • What Means Do Arab States

    Employ to Ensure Security?

  • What are the Implications for

    the Region?

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No Truly Free Arab Countries

  • 0 of 22 Arab Governments are Truly Freely Elected

    • UN Human Development Report, 2002, Identifies 3 Deficit Areas:

      • Freedom, Knowledge, and Women’s Participation

    • Assumption of Power and Governance Based on Patronage and Loyalty

    • Contradicts Trend of Democratization in Other Parts of Developing World During the Past Few Decades—L. America, Africa, Far East, E. Europe

  • Syria: Freedom House--7/7 Political Rights; 7/7 Civil Rights

    • Pres. Bashar Al-Asad Confirmed by Referendum; Son of Hafiz Al-Asad

    • Constitution Changed Overnight in Wake of Father’s Death

    • Parliament is Merely a Rubber Stamp

  • Egypt: 6/7 Political and Civil Rights

    • President Mubarak in Power Since 1981

    • No True Opposition Allowed

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  • Saudi Arabia: 7/7 Pol. and 7/7 Civ. Rights

    • Saud Family has Ruled Monarchy since 1932

    • No Parliament and 90-member, appointed Consultative Council

    • No Political Parties Allowed

  • Qatar: 6/7 Pol. and 6/7 Civ. Rights

    • Current Ruler Overthrew Father in 1995

    • Prime Minister from Same Family

    • No Parliament and 35-member, appointed Cons. Council

  • Jordan: 6/7 Pol. and 5/7 Civ. Rights

    • Monarchy with Succession From Father to Son

    • 2 Chambers of Parliament, One of which is Elected

    • Political Parties are Allowed with Limited Participation

  • Few Bright Spots—Limited Political Liberalization:

    Morocco, Bahrain, and Kuwait

  • Jury Still Out on Iraq, but Progress is Being Made—Only Because the Coalition Overthrew Saddam and is Present. Key will be Whether Populace will Put Up with Turbulence Associated w/ Lack of Security as Democratic Processes are Institutionalized

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Common Characteristics of Security Conscious Arab States

  • With Exception of Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories,

    Arab States Remarkably Stable For Three Decades + :

    • King Hussein, Jordan, More than 40 Years

    • Hafiz Al-Asad, Syria, 30 Years

    • Hosni Mubarak, Egypt, 23 Years

    • Saddam Hussein, Iraq, Almost 25 Years

  • Authoritarian Governments Dominate the Arab World

    • Many Leaders Live in Fear

    • Rulers Fear Political Reform as a Catalyst for Instability

  • Arab Countries are Often Essentially Police States with Relatively Large Security Services and Militaries—Armed Forces are Not Servants of the People, But Served by the People (Corruption)

  • Despite Rich Cultural Composition and Histories,

    Civil Society is Often Stifled or Closely Monitored

  • Large Portions or Majority of Population Often Cut Out

    or Impoverished—No Vehicles for Upward Mobility

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What Means Do Arab States Employ to Ensure Security?

  • Co-opting and Promoting Particular (and often Minority) Ethnic Groups,

    as well as Attaining the Loyalty of Key Tribes

    • Syria—Alawis from the Coastal Mountains

    • Iraq—Sunnis from the Sunni Triangle/Tikritis

    • Jordan—Bedouin Families from East Bank

  • Controlled Demonstrations and Protests—

    Pressure Valves

  • Promotion of “Military” Societies—Most Arab Leaders Either Rose Up through the Military or Closely Identify Themselves with the Military

  • Numerous and Overlapping Intelligence Agencies—More Eyes the Better!

  • Dual Militaries with Simultaneous External Defense and Internal Protection Missions. In Fact, #1 Mission is Actually Regime Protection

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Implications for the Region

  • Economic:

    • Unless Oil/Natural Gas Revenues High, Development is Stifled As Bright

      Young People Emigrate or Are Forced to Settle for Jobs Beneath Capabilities

      • Welfare States Like Saudi Arabia are Threatened by a Lack of Opportunity

    • Defense Budgets are Disproportionately High, Taking Money From Civilian Industry

  • Military/Security:

    • Sycophants, Often from Particular Ethnic Groups, Advance Before Capable Leaders

    • Unit Morale is Negatively Affected as Personnel are “Watched”

    • Centralized Control Slows Speed at which Operations are Executed

    • Jealousies Hurt Cooperation Between Individual Services

    • Leaders Chase High-Profile Military Items vs. Most Practical Ones

  • Social/Political:

    • Political Cronies and Loyalist Leaches Attain High-Level Positions

    • Due to a Lack of Legal Outlets for Frustration, Extremism on the Rise

      • Militant Islam on the Rise

    • More and More Band-Aid Fixes Needed to Hold Together Societies