Post-conflict Decentralisation in MENA

The Potential Role for Non-State Actors, Extra-legal Arrangements, and Non-territorial Autonomy


  • Jan Byczkowskı non-affiliated


decentralisation, MENA, legal pluralism, non-state actors, non-territorial autonomy, middle east


Decentralisation is a buzzword commonly utilised in relation to post-conflict state-building and peacebuilding efforts, including in the MENA region. However, its theory and practice are still burdened by the Western heritage of classical political thought. Instead, the author proposes a more tailored approach, in which those common assertions are confronted with the conditions on the ground. Throughout the paper, the tradition of limited statehood, the prevalence in many areas of non-state political actors, as well as the importance of traditional law are analysed. The evidence suggests that non-state actors are likely to play a significant role after the conflict ends, whether it is desired by politicians or not. As such, accommodating them based on contemporary and historical examples as well as innovative mechanisms, and accepting the possibility of legal pluralism and non-territorial autonomy arrangements may result in new, promising decentralisation initiatives tailored for the particular conditions of Middle Eastern states.

Author Biography

Jan Byczkowskı, non-affiliated

Jan Gwidon Byczkowski holds PhD in Political History and International Relations of the Middle East from Marmara University, Istanbul. Interested in political decentralisation in all its forms, anarchism, political theory, and the Middle East, especially with regard to cultures, minorities, internal conflicts, and the ways to resolve them. Avid reader, writer, and painter.




How to Cite

Byczkowskı, J. (2023). Post-conflict Decentralisation in MENA: The Potential Role for Non-State Actors, Extra-legal Arrangements, and Non-territorial Autonomy. Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies, 7(1), 7–38. Retrieved from