Book presentation: ''War and State Building in the Middle East'' by Dr. Rolf Schwarz
Dr. Rolf Schwarz is currently working as a Political Officer in the Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Countries Section of the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, He wrote his book, ''War and State Building in the Middle East'' while at the NATO Defense College in Rome.
On 5 April, Rolf Schwarz presented his book at NATO Headquarters, at a book talk organised by the NATO Multimedia Library. Mr Nicola de Santis, Head of the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Section, in NATO Political Affairs and Security Policy (PASP) Division, introduced the presentation and chaired the discussion which followed.
Later, Dr Schwarz signed copies of his book at a reception hosted by the NATO Multimedia Library.
The book, based on research in several Middle Eastern countries (Iraq, Jordan, United Arab Emirates), argues that in the Middle East, unlike in Europe, wars did not make states, they destroyed them
During his book presentation Rolf Schwarz made three specific points: (i) fulfillment of basic state functions correlates with extractive state power (such as taxation); (ii) Middle Eastern states differ in the extent of their reliance on domestic financial resources, and vary in state structure accordingly: rentier state gains capacity chiefly through external sale of natural resources (oil and gas) rather than bargaining with its subject populations over the means of rule; (iii) offering insights into post-conflict peace-building, state failure and democracy promotion are based on this linkage between revenue and rule.
By highlighting the perils of funding wars through the sale of natural resources, fighting with imported weaponry, and accepting peace settlements negotiated and guaranteed by foreign powers, Rolf Schwarz offers provocative insights into post-conflict peace building, state failure, and the potential for democratic rule in the region.
"This comparative volume explores the dramatic pathways of political development undertaken by rentier regimes in the Arab world. Here, waging war proved to weaken rather than strengthen state capacity in pernicious ways--an insight that contrasts sharply with received Western wisdom about war being the crucible of modern state building."--Sean L. Yom, Temple University.
"An important contribution to the literature on state building in the Middle East. "--Gawdat Bahgat, author of ‘Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East’.