In the post-2011 escalation of the crisis of the state in the Arab Levant, analysts often concentrate on vertical divides to explain the crisis facing Arab states in their efforts to create democratic systems, or to prevent civil war. This paper is an attempt to move away from previous analyses which are rooted in a cultural approach predominant in research tackling sectarianism. The cultural model explains the difficulty of assimilation as being down to the continuance of sectarian and identitarian structures. It also explains the continuity of these very same structures as being down to the difficulty of assimilation. This circularity cannot be broken other than by taking the issue of sectarianism out of its anthropological space and placing it within the political, or more accurately socio-political, space. This paper suggests working on the question of sectarianism in its relation with the crisis in the model of the state. As part of this approach, it is not possible to explain the continuation of the issue of sectarianism in terms of the specific features of sects of the mosaic nature of the Arab subject, but only by a return to the prevalent forms of modernization and models of the states this has engendered. The paper situates its main theses in the focus on the absence/disappearance of the modern nation state in the Arab Levant in favor of another model of the state, namely the neo-patrimonnialist state, where an ongoing reproduction of traditional structures and their transformation into patrimonial networks is found, and where the organization of the state-citizenship relationship is substituted by a form of citizenship on a clientalist basis and through unofficial practices and channels.