Political instability in the Middle East, 1970-72



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Purpose: The purposes of this thesis are: (1) to determine the dimensions of civil strife within sixteen Middle Eastern nations for the years of 1970, 1971, and 1972; (2) to specify the dimensions of socioeconomic attributes of these states; and (3) to measure the degree of association between the dimensions of socioeconomic variables and civil strife dimensions. It is hoped that these findings will shed some further light on the strength and validity of propositions stated by frustration-aggression theorists. Methods: The following sources were systematically searched for the collection of data to be used in this project: The New York Times Index, Facts on File, Britannica Book of the Year, and United Nations publications. Factor analysis was employed to cluster the variables, extract independent dimensions, and to determine the factor scores of nations on major dimensions. In the subsequent step, multiple regression was used to determine the degree of association between socioeconomic attributes of states and their civil strife. Findings: 1. Civil strife in these Middle Eastern nations varies along four uncorrelated dimensions of turmoil, urban violence, civil war, and elite instability. 2. Socioeconomic attributes of these nations vary along five uncorrelated dimensions of urbanization, coercive potential, energy consumption, wealth, and cultural heterogeneity. 3. The dimensions of independent variables together account for 94 per cent of the total variation in urban violence, 90 per cent of turmoil, 31 per cent of civil war, and 27 per cent of elite instability. 4. Urbanization (a partial correlation of .65 controlling for the other dimensions of independent variables) and coercive potential (-.68 partial correlation) account for most of the variation in the urban violence dimension. Actually, the relation between coercive potential and urban violence is best seen as curvilinear. No significant associations emerge between these two dimensions of independent variables and either elite instability or civil war. 5. Urbanization and cultural heterogeneity have the highest partial correlations with turmoil (.56 and -.50, respectively). 6. Cultural heterogeneity is the only dimension that shows a moderate and positive correlation with elite instability.



Middle Eastern nations, civil strife, socioeconomic strife, urbanization, elite instability, cultural heterogeneity, turmoil