This study is concerned with the relationship between the army and politics, not as an ailment specific to Arab societies but as the byproduct of historical development, the nature of the Arab state, and the process attendant to its development, structure, and modernization. The paper sets out from the hypothesis that by definition no army is far removed from politics, and that in recently independent states, the military has a role in state building and in accelerating the country through historical stages. The study focuses on the army's political aspirations in the narrow sense of seizing and wielding power. The distinction is made between the concepts of “revolution” and “coup,” two concepts which have been historically intertwined in Arab public discourse, as an introduction to thinking about various historical experiences and examples where the military played an important role in the process of political and social change. The study affirms the difficulty of reaching any theoretical generalization governing the relationship between the army and power, and its behavior in power, while it attempts to differentiate between a coup launched by the regime against a political process it had initiated, and a coup launched by radicalized officers with the aim of reforming or changing the regime. Finally, there is an attempt to lay down five common features that characterize the relationship between the military and political power in the Arab world.