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Cover International Relations of the Middle East

10. Middle East Security: The Politics of Violence after the 2003 Iraq War  

Marina Calculli

This chapter explores contemporary security in the Middle East by highlighting the nexus between the uses and justification of violence. Focusing on the post 9/11 reordering of the Middle East, it shows how state and non-state actors use the rhetoric of the ‘war on terror’ to depoliticize military interventions against political rivals. More specifically, it argues that such actors mobilize the politics of shame to contain and undermine their rivals. Such efforts are met with attempts to counter-shame and re-politicize the use of violence, producing a cycle of action and counter-action that seeks to legitimize and delegitimize competing visions of security and order in the Middle East. In this context, security and insecurity are two sides of the same coin that fluctuate according to the prevailing balance of power.