Regional Militaries and the Global Military-Industrial Complex
Shana Marshall is Associate Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University. She earned her PhD in International Relations and Comparative Politics of the Middle East at the University of Maryland-College Park in 2012. Her research focuses on the political economy of militaries in Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE, and has appeared in The Middle East Report (MERIP), The International Journal of Middle East Studies, Jadaliyya, and the Carnegie Middle East Center.
The military, as both a political and an economic actor, has figured prominently in the region's development history. Many of the region’s most fundamental transformations, including coups, state-building projects, and the assumption of ruinous debt loads were intertwined with the military and its institutional prerogatives. Emerging as one of few intact institutions in the post-colonial landscape, the military was initially seen as critical to modernization and industrialization, however it evolved over time into a predatory bureaucratic institution that contributed more to political repression than industrial production. The military's hold on power is intertwined in many ways with the interests of external actors, including foreign defense establishments and the global military industrial complex, both of which have contributed to maintaining the centrality of the armed forces in the political economies of Middle East states.
Keywords: military economies, defense spending, defense industry, arms trade, Arab armies, Weapons, petrodollars