Rebel Governance in the Middle East

This book uses the cases of Syrian factions in rebel-held areas, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Houthi in Yemen, rebels in Libya, Taliban in Afghanistan, In Iraq, and Somalia to explain the importance of examining genealogies tribalism, common local knowledge and social networks in understanding the institutionalisation of armed group governance systems. The book provides a series of studies employing  heterogenous methodological approaches to address the issue using qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. The proposed project also attempts to move away from the central debate on the national political crisis trend by examining the sub-national level patterns and assessing various factors and questions that bring about clear answers regarding how de-facto rulers use tribes and tribal informal institutions to sustain their presence and create a safe social incubator.


This edited volume provides a much-needed examination of rebel governance in the Middle East and Northern Africa region. Fraihat and Alijla push the boundaries of our understanding of rebel governance by exploring a myriad of non-state actors with complex relationships to contested state authorities and employing a variety of types of governance behavior. The rich case studies from across MENA make this a must read for scholars of rebel governance.

Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, Professor, University of Maryland

This collection of rigorous and historically grounded case studies on governance by non-state actors in the Middle East is an innovative contribution to the literature on conflict in the region, which has tended to focus heavily on political violence with less attention to the importance of institutions. The authors fill this gap using diverse qualitative and quantitative methods to show how the state-building ideologies and other political and economic motivations of groups including the Taliban, Hamas, and Hezbollah have shaped their control of territory and governance of people.”

Mara Revkin, Associate Professor of Law, Duke University