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Civil-Military Relations and Political Liberalization: A Comparative Study of the Military's Corporateness and Political Values in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and Pakistan Open Access

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Can militaries in the Muslim world support political liberalization and, if so, under what conditions? This study challenges the conventional wisdom that the military is a conservative, authoritarian force. For instance, the Arab world is typified by military-dominated regimes. Might we then find that the military played a supporting role in the political aspect of 1970s infitah, or opening, in Egypt and Syria? The study posits that military corporateness is a prerequisite for the military to think and act independently, but that the military's political values determine whether and how it will act. The study devises a means to measure military corporateness and finds evidence that corporateness mostly correlates positively with political liberalization in four cases. A survey of Egyptian and Syrian military journals finds that pro-liberalization discourse increased in the period leading up to the initial increases in political liberalization. In each case, the political values were colored by unique local concerns or ideological outlooks, which indicated significant limits to support for liberalization, but also gave credence to the authenticity of the values. The interaction of the two variables was assessed using corporate variants, or models, derived from the literature. These models, e.g. party-army or military business, added analytical dimension to the military's outlook toward political liberalization. The study was brought up to date and made more generalizable by examining Turkey and Pakistan, using the same methodology for military corporateness, but an abbreviated method for assessing political values. The abbreviated cases provide a sharp contrast to the Arab cases with the paradoxical observation that interventionist militaries may in some cases be more pro-democratization than obedient militaries.

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