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Domestic unrest and interstate violence : four Middle Eastern states Bernstein, Irving

Abstract

In recent years political scientists have shown increasing interest in the relationship between international and intranational politics. One of the problems most frequently dealt with in this area is the relationship between foreign and domestic conflict behaviour. Some of the notions involved are quite venerable and are commonly used in explaining specific events. One such notion is scapegoating, the diversion of popular attention from domestic conflicts to foreign ones. Another such concept posits the strengthening of internal solidarity in the face of external conflict. However, attempts at scientific, systematic examinations of the issue have yielded evidence of only weak relationships at best. In this paper the problem is again approached, though from a different angle than in most other studies. The types of behaviour examined are interstate violence and intrastate political unrest. Measures for each of these variables are developed. Correlations between the measures are then computed for each of four Middle Eastern states: Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Syria. The calculations are made both with and without time lags. The results show no significant relationship between the variables for Israel. For Syria unrest predicts positively and with moderate strength to subsequent interstate violence, while interstate violence predicts moderately and negatively to subsequent unrest. For Egypt and Jordan the variables predict strongly and positively to each other. It is suggested that these differences among the states may be due to differing degrees of freedom of access to political channels in them.

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