Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Major Professor

Ian G. Down

Committee Members

William Andrew Paul, John M. Scheb, Krista E. Wiegand


Militaries generally play a vital role in the survival of states, neutralizing both domestic and foreign threats. In addition, during moments of political crisis when political institutions and processes break down, militaries play an integral part of a particular regime’s survival. Each chapter of this study analyzes a critical component of military decision-making and regime survival in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Jordan is the central case study for each chapter. Through the collection of data from interviews with security personnel in Jordan, this study offers an in-depth investigation of civil-military relations in the MENA region. There is a shortage of research on this topic, and this study seeks to fill the gaps in important places in the political science literature. In order to fill these gaps, this study begins by establishing a new and alternative approach to understanding security decision-making called the identity-rationalist model. This new model incorporates notions of identity into cost-benefit analysis. Then the study tests hypotheses on military loyalty, finding that integration of the military into the political economy of a country has the greatest explanatory power for military defection. Finally, this study gives a detailed exploration of Jordanian intelligence services to understand why the institutions are effective at maintaining state stability despite the volatility of the MENA region. Together the three core chapters each contribute to the literature on civil-military relations and understanding the complexity of security forces in the Arab world.

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