By John W. Amos II
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Behavioral instances of this wajh mentality a r e legion. For example, a whole panoply of p r a c t i c e s surround the seclusion of women. Women are perceived as a c o n s t a n t source of dishonor, and perpetual vigilance is necessary t o p r e v e n t indiscrete female behavior. While Arab men boast of their own virility, they must be ever careful not to fall victim, through their women, t o t h e virility of other men. (53) These p r a c t i c e s and a t t i t u d e s in regard t o women a r e of very ancient origin, but they show no signs of being m i t i g a t e d by social change in the Middle East.
The n e t effect of this sectarian r e c r u i t m e n t p a t t e r n was to focus existing primordial tensions on t h e Syrian government. With t h e advent of Ba'th rule, one set of sectarian groups, t h e Shi'as, dominate t h e government, another larger s e c t a r i a n community, t h e Sunnis, is, in turn. The S t r u c t u r e of Escalation 33 dominated by this government. The consequence, as Clifford G e e r t z has argued, (21) was t h e c r e a t i o n of a situation of primordial conflict: a conflict p a t t e r n in which two or more primordial groups contend for control of t h e apparatus of t h e s t a t e .
55) The p a r a m e t e r s of this model and its apparent internalization in the cognitions of Arab decision makers function to shape Arab responses to their political environment. It produces the fluidity and factionalism which c h a r a c t e r i z e Arab politics and builds in t h e escalatory dynamics which appears to dominate Arab i n t e r a c t i o n s . In p r a c t i c e t h e conflict model o p e r a t e s to produce an e x t r e m e l y complex and subtle politics. Levels of imagery and their behavioral manifestations tend t o cross cut one another and to produce a convoluted p a t t e r n of political alignments.
Arab–Israeli Military/Political Relations. Arab Perceptions and the Politics of Escalation by John W. Amos II