Dilemmas of the late-forming state This book has aimed to explore the conditions that keep Arab states in the Middle East intact. To avoid the pitfalls of ‘statist’ literature and its critics on the one hand, and ‘political culture’ and ‘political economy’ approaches, on the other, this book treated the state as a process. In doing so, I focused less on the institutional and legal dimensions of statehood and more on the sociopolitical struggles as the basis for my analysis. In Chapter 1, I argued that to understand states, it is better to situate them on a state formation/de-formation continuum. At the heart of this process is the attempt by a social force, or forces, to dominate others by monopolising, primarily, three forms of power: coercion, ideology and economic resources.