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Ruling But Not Governing

The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey

Steven A. Cook

Publication Year: 2007

Ruling But Not Governing highlights the critical role that the military plays in the stability of the Egyptian, Algerian, and, until recently, Turkish political systems. This in-depth study demonstrates that while the soldiers and materiel of Middle Eastern militaries form the obvious outer perimeter of regime protection, it is actually the less apparent, multilayered institutional legacies of military domination that play the decisive role in regime maintenance. Steven A. Cook uncovers the complex and nuanced character of the military’s interest in maintaining a facade of democracy. He explores how an authoritarian elite hijack seemingly democratic practices such as elections, multiparty politics, and a relatively freer press as part of a strategy to ensure the durability of authoritarian systems. Using Turkey’s recent reforms as a point of departure, the study also explores ways external political actors can improve the likelihood of political change in Egypt and Algeria. Ruling But Not Governing provides valuable insight into the political dynamics that perpetuate authoritarian regimes and offers novel ways to promote democratic change.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


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pp. ix-xiii

The idea for Ruling But Not Governing crystallized when I began asking questions about the intersection of religion and mass politics, the resilience of certain types of regimes confronting what seem to be serious challenges, and the inadequacy of prevailing scholarly work to explain authoritarian stability. This book brings the ...

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1 A Logic of Regime Stability

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pp. 1-13

In the days and weeks following September 11, 2001, as Americans were groping for ways to understand, and cope with, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the news media supplied a welter of information concerning the Middle East. According to much of this reporting and analysis, instability was a principal ...

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2 The Egyptian, Algerian, and Turkish Military Enclaves: The Contours of the Officers’ Autonomy

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pp. 14-31

The modernization paradigm dominated the social sciences between the 1950s and 1970s. During that era, scholars of the Middle East hypothesized that relatively autonomous militaries were progressive forces of modernization and democratization. The basic tenets of modernization theories are fairly straightforward: (1) the combined effects of the French Revolution and Great Britain’s industrial revolution undermined ...

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3 The Pouvoir Militaire and the Failure to Achieve a “Just Mean”

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pp. 32-62

With its slide into civil insurrection in the 1990s, Algeria became the prism through which observers viewed the struggle between Islam and the state in the Middle East. Arab leaders used Algeria’s descent into violence, which by decade’s end had cost an estimated 100,000 lives, as a reason why they could not undertake political reforms for fear that Islamists would overwhelm their political systems. ...

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4 Institutionalizing a Military-Founded System

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pp. 63-92

Israel’s stunning defeat of Egypt’s armed forces in June 1967—known commonly in Arabic as al-naksa (the setback)—is widely regarded as the event that began the demilitarization of Egyptian politics. The standard narrative of the period immediately following holds that the hegemony of Egypt’s military establishment was compromised with the death of Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer, apparently by ...

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5 Turkish Paradox: Islamist Political Power and the Kemalist Political Order

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pp. 93-132

In November 2002, the Islamist-based Adalet ve Kalkinma (Justice and Development, or AK) Party swept into power, gaining an absolute majority in Turkey’s parliament and precluding the need to form a coalition government. Although the scale of AK’s victory was unprecedented, there had been an Islamist-led government in Turkey’s officially secular political order. ...

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6 Toward a Democratic Transition?: Weakening the Patterns of Political Inclusion and Exclusion

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pp. 133-148

The problems of authoritarian stability and democratization in the Middle East have been hotly debated topics among political scientists, historians, and area specialists. The tenor and tone of the scholarly studies on these issues tend to oscillate from expectations prevalent in the early 1990s that the Middle East was on the verge of a democratic breakthrough to the deeply ...


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pp. 149-182


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pp. 183-189

E-ISBN-13: 9780801896064
E-ISBN-10: 0801896061
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801885914
Print-ISBN-10: 0801885914

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2007

OCLC Number: 549525998
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Ruling But Not Governing

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Armed Forces -- Political activity.
  • Authoritarianism.
  • Turkey -- Politics and government.
  • Civil-military relations.
  • Egypt -- Politics and government.
  • Algeria -- Politics and government.
  • Democracy.
  • Democratization.
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