Satoshi Ikeuchi: Regime-Military-Society Relations in the Arab Spring

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 (4:00 PM – 5:30 PM)
Tower Center Board Room, Room 227, Carr Collins Hall (map)


One of the crucial factors which influenced Arab regimes’ responses to protests and outcomes thereof was how military took positions.  In Tunisia and Egypt, faced with the mass uprisings, the ailing regime’s grip on the military turned out to loosen overtime and military separated itself from the regime at the critical moment, assuming the guarantor’s role in transition.  In Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain, military kept unity with the regime, but military’s relations with the regime have changed over time.  Military in Libya and Yemen lost their own unity and strong ties with the regime, which led to a civil war or exacerbated domestic conflicts.  By contrast, unity in military and strong ties between military and the regime have largely been maintained in Syria and Bahrain.  This talk discusses how religious and social components of military such as sectarianism, regionalism, tribalism, family/kinship, and clientelism, as well as professionalization and institutionalization of military and strength of paramilitary organizations, account for the observed variation of regime-military-society relations.

Satoshi Ikeuchi, Associate Professor, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo

Satoshi Ikeuchi was a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2009 and Visiting Fellow at the Clare Hall of University of Cambridge in 2010.  He specializes in Middle Eastern politics.  His first book, Contemporary Arab Social Thought: Eschatology and Islamism (in Japanese), was published in 2002 and earned Osaragi Jiro Prize for Critical Works.  He also earned Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities in 2009 for his other book, Methods of Discussing Islam (in Japanese).  He vigorously engages in public debates in Japan on Middle Eastern politics.  His articles on contemporary Middle Eastern politics have been edited into two anthologies: Arab Politics Now (in Japanese) and The Middle East: Analyses on the Epicenter of Crises (in Japanese).  In addition to writing and teaching on Middle Eastern and Islamic politics, he has published review articles in various journals and edited them into another anthology: The Fate of Books (in Japanese), which was awarded Mainichi Book Review Prize in 2006.

Open to Tower Center Forum members, SMU students, faculty and staff (password required).