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Why Is There so Much Conflict in the Middle East?

Mirjam E. Sørli, Nils Petter Gleditsch and Håvard Strand
The Journal of Conflict Resolution
Vol. 49, No. 1 (Feb., 2005), pp. 141-165
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30045102
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Why Is There so Much Conflict in the Middle East?
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Abstract

The Middle East is one of the most conflict-prone regions-but why? The Collier-Hoeffler model of civil war provides the starting point for our analysis. In an application to Africa, Collier and Hoeffler found poverty to be the most significant predictor of conflict. For conflict in the Middle East, a more complex picture emerges. Consistent with Collier and Hoeffler, the authors find that economic development and economic growth, in addition to longer periods of peace, generally decrease the likelihood of conflict. They also find that ethnic dominance is significant, while social fractionalization is not. Contrary to Collier and Hoeffler, they find that regime type matters. Variables for the Middle East region, Islamic countries, and oil dependence are not significant. Conflict in the Middle East is quite well explained by a general theory of civil war, and there is no need to invoke a pattern of "Middle Eastern exceptionalism."

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