From Westphalian failure to heterarchic governance in MENA: the case of Syria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


The problematic export of the Westphalian system to MENA is examined, taking Syria as exemplar. The export model is juxtaposed to actual non-lineal trajectories, semi-sovereignty and hybrid or failing states. This is manifested in post-uprising Syria in failing statehood, fragmented and overlapping governance, permeable and collapsing borders, the loss of sovereignty to trans-state movements, “competitive regime-building” between the Asad regime and jihadist warlords, and “competitive interventionism” by external powers filling the governance vacuum with their own proxies. The result is heterarchic zones of limited statehood in which state sovereignty is contested by both international (supra-state) penetration and sub-state fragmentation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-413
Number of pages23
JournalSmall Wars and Insurgencies
Issue number3
Early online date11 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Westphalian system
  • Syria
  • State failure
  • Heterarchic governance
  • Middle East
  • Hybrid regimes
  • Civil war
  • Governance
  • Heterarchy
  • Westphalian order


Dive into the research topics of 'From Westphalian failure to heterarchic governance in MENA: the case of Syria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this