State Cohesion in the Middle East: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

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The Middle Eastern territorial state came into being after a prolonged period of Westernization that resulted in the formation of mostly secular authoritarian regimes. Over time, the state’s ability to bend the will of its citizens increased, and political stability in most countries was reinforced. But toward the end of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first, secularism gradually eroded, Islamic politics became considerably more popular, authoritarian regimes in the region were put on the defensive, and with the advent of the “Arab Spring,” state cohesion has been seriously undermined in a number of countries.