“This is actually the real map of the Middle East,” Kedar said, pointing to a slide showing a MENA geographic map without borders, a largely arid area in which vast deserts surround isolated water sources. “To live as a tribe is essential in this area. Otherwise you are weak; otherwise you cannot defend your source of water.” This means that families in the region banded together as clans millennia ago. Clan members could marry only fellow clan kin, lest familial connections create competing tribal claims for resources while the tribes developed codes of conduct (e.g. rules of retaliation) that predated and had more tribal loyalty than Islamic and state law.
Read the whole thing: Tribal Logic in the Middle East – Philos Project