Steven Heydemann (ed.), War, Institutions and Change in the Middle East (2001), Chapter 1.

*Note: Read this one last, and a bit burnt out, concerned that I might have missed some of the key take home points here.
Summary: Tilly’s argument about state-formation in Europe cannot be applied to the middle east, there are too many points of divergence – however, there is also much similarity, so something can be gained by taking Tilly’s position seriously. Heydemann argues that the Middle Eastern cases had much different contexts which make the application of Tilly’s argument problematic. Of particular importance is the transnationalized nature of war making (the impact of external actors, markets, etc).  Change in these societies was impacted by war making and war preparation, but not caused by them.  In fact, Heydemann finds that Tilly’s causal story is reversed in the Middle East – state access to resources and how they accessed them contributed to the kind of war preparation/war making that occurred.  War had an impact at the local domestic level, rather than at the state level, as it can also strengthen cleavages within society.
Importance of preparation for war, not just war making.
There are gaps in the study of war in the Middle East – empirical and theoretical. Very little has been done to look at how societies have been shaped and reshaped by war making and war preparation.
The Middle Eastern cases are different “not because they are non-Western, but because the conditions in which the dynamics of war making and war preparation have unfolded in the twentieth-century Middle East differ in crucial ways from those of pre-twentieth-century Europe.”
Main point: European experiences should not be seen as offering an automatic starting point due to the different context of war making and war preparation.  Specifically, there are some key points of divergence:
the state is not always the actor which makes war – war making in developing regions has been indirect, mediated and deeply transnationalized; in the Middle Eastern cases, war making intersected with processes of state institutional change and social transformation but did so more as an intervening variable than as a direct cause of the social, political or institutional change.
For all of the contributors to the volume, the most significant effects of war are experienced at the level of local societies and domestic institutions. DVs in these chapters are almost alway domestic-level outcomes.
Importantly, while war is often seen as having  centralizing and consolidating effects on states, “war can also sharpen competing identities and affiliations, erode national cohesion, and weaken the position of states that ground their legitimacy in the aggressive pursuit of national security.”
“Rather than assume that war advances the consolidation of state institutions and enhances the capacity of states to organize and control societies, the chapters in this volume focus on the capacity of war to turn the structure and roles of the state into highly contested issues of public debate.”
Key findings:
1) War preparation matters more than war making;
2) Modes of resource extraction explain patterns of war preparation – correlation between the sources of state revenue and the patterns of war preparation – this makes the organization of state revenues an independent variable and patterns of war preparation a dependent variable, thus reversing the direction of causality found in the European cases
3) Regime type matters