Why do the states of the Arab world seem so unstable? Why do alliances between them and with outside powers change? Jamie Allinson argues that the answer lies in the expansion of global capitalism in the Middle East. Drawing out the unexpected way in which Jordan's Bedouin tribes became allied to the British Empire in the twentieth century, and the legacy of this for the international politics of the Middle East, he challenges the existing views of the region. Using the example of Jordan, this book traces the social bases of the struggles that produced the country's foreign relations in the latter half of the twentieth century to the reforms carried out under the Ottoman Empire and the processes of land settlement and state formation experienced under the British Mandate. By examining the attempts of Jordan to create foreign alliances during a time of upheaval and instability in the region, Allinson offers wider conclusions concerning the nature of the interaction between state and society in the wider Middle East.