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Is it Economics, or the Bad Luck of a Conflict-Ridden DNA: A Study of the Causes of Civil War in the Middle East and North Africa

by Al Alami, Mayss Rajab

Abstract

The Middle Eastern Exceptionalism theory characterizes the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with an inevitable, conflict-ridden nature that cannot be resolved. Such a theory, when adopted by policy makers and scholars, leads to misconceptions about the region. Amongst these misconceptions is blaming factors such as the dominance of the religion of Islam and social fractionalisation for the conflict in the region. More fundamental factors, such as poor economic conditions are then seen as mere results of such social characteristics. This study contends the theory of Middle Eastern Exceptionalism, and compares the factors that increase the likelihood of civil war globally to those in the MENA region. This study concludes that three economic factors have the greatest influence on increasing the likelihood of civil war, and these are: low income per capita, low economic growth, and large population size. It also finds that foreign intervention and religious fractionalisation increase the likelihood of civil war onset. Most importantly, however, the study presents strong results that there are no factors unique to the MENA region that increase its likelihood of civil conflict. This conclusion encourages policy makers to eliminate the theory of Middle Eastern Exceptionalism, and to instead adopt more tactical and proactive approaches in the region to treat the prevalent grievances that cause civil war.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College Tutt Library
PID
coccc:27447
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
69 pages : illustrations
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Lybecker, Kristina
Department/Program
Economics and Business
Degree Name
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Type
bachelor
Degree Grantor
Colorado College Tutt Library
Date Issued
2017-05